Sake No Hana
By : Rockwell Group
GRANDS PRIX DU DESIGN – 16th edition
Discipline : Interior Design
Categories : Accommodation, Restaurant & Bar / Restaurant > 1,600 sq.ft. (> 500 sq. m.) : Gold Certification
Moxy Lower East Side is a 16-story hotel from Michaelis Boyd and Stonehill Taylor, with 303 keys, a lobby bar, gym, and other amenities. Rockwell Group designed Sake No Hana, a Japanese restaurant, and Loosie’s nightclub operated by TAO Group in the cellar and sub-cellar levels.
Sake No Hana draws on imagery and cultural references from its Japanese cuisine. Specifically, we were inspired by 1980s Japanese “yankii” subculture that celebrates an obsession with American youth rebellion, from punk music and culture to rock ‘n roll, motorcycles, and a rockabilly sensibility. This blended seamlessly with the history of the Lower East Side as a home to live music and performance and contemporary art. We drew on these seemingly disparate touchstones to create the restaurant’s look and feel, with touches of leather, brick, wood, lush silks and velvets, Japanese horsehair, and deconstructed kimonos.
Guests enter the restaurant through a striking double height volume descending to the restaurant. Two oversized metal doors flank a dramatic bridge that provides views below. The built-up metal doors feature an intricate “x” relief pattern with inlaid glass, offering glimpses into the space beyond. The doors lead to two curving staircases with glass and metal railings that embrace an intimate, curved bar below. A deconstructed kimono and textile installation fills the lofty space to either side. The descent into the restaurant is a dramatic, theatrical experience, as guests take in the dining room and kimono installation. The leather guardrail on the back of the stairs is made of a patchwork of different patterns, evoking the biker spirit. An X pattern can be seen in the wood-like porcelain tile floor (with a slate-colored porcelain perimeter) as well as in the truss-like metal on the ceiling. The tile bar die pops against a rich floral wallcovering.
In the main dining room, the ceiling has a curved leather-like soffit in the center and a custom monumental chandelier. A mirror on the ceiling reflects the light fixture. Wood lathe curves up the wall for softened grit. On the end walls, a custom embroidered wallcovering with Japanese floral motifs inspired by the Bowery’s early history as a pleasure garden wraps the columns. Columns are also layered with tamboured wood and leather detailing.
A basket weave pattern on the floor is a dynamic counterpoint to the distressed leather dining chairs with kimono fabric backs.
Elevated a few steps above the main dining room, the PDR has a metal screen that takes industrial cues from the history of the Bowery and is composed of hammered glass, wood, and metal components. The PDR features a tassel wall installation that morphs to become a draped, tent-like ceiling.