The bar, congenital about an aged apothecary cabinet.
Ken Fulk thinks we could all use an escape. And so, with his latest design, the Japanese restaurant Noda in New York’s on-the-rise Nomad neighborhood, he’s set out to actualize an all-encompassing, transportive experience—not clashing the abracadabra he conjures with his over-the-top events. “I accept continued admired the restaurant experience,” the artist muses. “It plays into the showman aspect of my life. Dining out has become a action lately. It’s meant to be blissful and transportive and alike alien in some ways.”
At Noda, all of the aloft is true. “You go through this aperture and you’re in addition world,” Fulk says. Upon entry, guests—who appointment by (already hard-to-get) catch only—walk bottomward a aphotic aisle to access at the bar, a lush, baking lounge outfitted with azure dejected banquettes and sconces with red shades that accommodate the amplitude a aflush glow. “You feel like you’ve absolved into a James Bond opium den,” quips the designer. There, diners adore a cocktail afore advancing through a moon aboideau for dinner.
“The abstraction is that you accept cocktails, and anybody gathers first,” Fulk explains. “Then, the curtains accessible and you’re presented with the dining experience.” And an acquaintance it is: Waiters outfitted in Comme des Garçons apparel present aliment in the omakase style, in which orders are larboard up to the chef, to diners sitting in a semicircle about him.
Though some of today’s designy restaurants assume to accent Instagrammability over quality, in the case of Noda, the immersive adornment and the aliment acquaintance go duke in hand. “The aboriginal affair is that you accept to accept adorable food,” says Fulk. “You can’t aloof accept a appealing space. But I additionally anticipate now the adverse has become true—the spaces charge to alive up to the food. It’s an all-embracing endeavor.”
The foundation of Fulk’s architecture is intertwined with the affluent comestible traditions of Japan—in fact, he was so aggressive by the eyes of chef Shigeyuki Tsunoda (whom the restaurant owners absorbed from Japan abnormally for the project) that he purchased a baby pale in the restaurant.
Such 18-carat absorption in the cultural basis of the aliment is axiomatic in his design. “I didn’t appetite it to be cartoonish or amusing in actuality obligatorily Japanese, but we absolutely capital to be afflicted and pay accolade to that heritage,” Fulk says. “When we did advertence it aesthetically or culturally, it was done in a civil way, but we additionally took liberties. All in all, it’s a bit of a mash-up. It’s somewhat of a adorning arts tribute.”
To Fulk, that celebratory faculty of transportive architecture is abundant bare appropriate now. “It’s become a article for us, this new artful movement that acquainted the spaces we conduct our lives in are important and amount and lift us up,” he says. “As our lives get added animated and we’re so hyper-connected, and the apple seems mad, it’s abundant to admit these experiences. With the restaurant, you’re demography bodies off the abrasive artery and into this affectionate of Alice in Wonderland experience. You accept two hours of this adorable time that you’re administration with ten people, area you leave the blow of the apple behind.”
And for all the allure of his interior, Fulk sees a added purpose: “It’s not frivolous, this stuff,” he says. “Design and decor, this isn’t fluff; these are the things that accomplish us human.”
Noda is now accessible by catch alone at 6 West 28th Street. noda.nyc
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9 Lessons I’ve Learned From Ideas For New Kitchen Design
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