The assignment was nothing if not formidable:
Create a new restaurant inside Frank Lloyd Wright's crowning achievement on Fifth Avenue in New York.
"There was nowhere to hide," says architect Andre Kikoski. "It was either going to be great -- or a disaster."
They dove headfirst into the archives, trying to dig up what Wright was thinking and writing about during the 30-year gestation period for his museum.
They arrived fortuitously at a football shape -- a key form used by the architect throughout the structure for columns, fountains and art pedestals. "He called it a primitive initial, a seed pod of all beauty," Kikoski says. "We said: 'Okay, great -- if that's it, let's try to take him on his own terms."
They took his geometric seed pod and found ways to implement it across all facets of the 1,500 square-foot former cafeteria. "We brought the curvilinear language of the building to a square area," he says.
Undulating walls, sculptural forms and a flared ceiling play off fiber-optic, layered walnut and a glowing white canopy of layered membranes.
That collaboration brought vibrant and shimmering color to the space that now seats 58 people, juxtaposing the architects' language of sinewy curves and torqued ellipses against the artist's language of extruded aluminum in three different rectangular shapes, each powder-coated in a bright, warm palette.
"It's so awesome in the space," Kikoski says. "I'm so honored by it."
And the only firm to follow in Wright's footsteps inside the museum.
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