Chefs Club Counter
Formerly located in an over-the-top setting in downtown New York’s grand Puck Building, Chefs Club Counter—a unique dining experience featuring a small rotating selection of dishes designed by different celebrated chefs from around the world—took the simplifying step of moving to a signature SoHo neighborhood location at the corner of Lafayette and Spring Streets. The feeling is home-made and handmade—and genuine. Pandiscio Green invited designer Fernando Santangelo—among his many credits one of the visionaries behind the look of Tribeca’s timeless Odeon restaurant—to bring his classic-but-never-basic look to the new space. Evoking movie-lot commissaries, cafeterias, automats and the diners of the city’s kodachrome past. We composed cheerful looping films to show queuing diners the inspiration and making of each dish—displayed on screens suspended on an armature that like the rest of the interior evokes the stylish but no-nonsense industrial design of French masters Jean Prouvé and Serge Mouille. Appropriate to the restauranteurs’ “fine food fast” concept, playful touches bring happiness to each meal—like a paper tray liner customized to a duck rice bowl dish whose can-you-find-them graphics conceals tiny ducks in a pattern of scattered grain. During a long development and construction period, we set the mood, taking advantage of the space’s generous picture windows to install life-size blowups of classic New York street photography of diners—taken through windows. Our goal was not only to conceptualize a freestanding venue that brought out the best of its neighborhood—in this case classic downtown—but also to prototype an international strategy for how global branches of Chefs Counter can always draw on local inspiration.