What Happens When: temporary restaurant installation in New York City

“What Happens When” es un restaurante creado como una instalación temporaria que se transforma cada 30 días. El lugar permanecerá abierto durante 9 meses en un espacio recuperado de Nueva York. Cada mes el restaurante cambia su enfoque con el fin de explorar distintas experiencias y jugar con las tradicionales expectativas que genera el salir a cenar.

What Happens When is a temporary restaurant installation that transforms every 30 days. Each months theme we call a Movement. It will live for 9 months in a reclaimed space in New York City and will change focus every month in order to explore what a dining experience can be and how we can play with the traditional expectations of dining out.

The overall ‘work in progress’ concept for the space is designed to reflect the changing and experimental nature of the project. With our actual architectural drawings projected onto the surfaces of the space in scale 1:1 the guests are invited into the design process. To serve as a backdrop for the monthly changes we inverted our drawings to give the functionality of a theater black box. The ceiling is covered with a 12″ grid of hooks to keep the space flexible and to be able to easily reconfigure the lighting for each Movement. All the ceiling lights have 15′ cords.

Within this framework we design a new spatial concept based for each Movement based on the theme. With only one night to do the transformations and our limited budget our main tools for creating a new setting for each theme are lighting, color scheme and spatial elements that can be prepared off site.

Movement 1

Food: Chef John Fraser / Sound: Composer Micah Silver / Interior design: Elle Kunnos de Voss, The Metrics

For Movement 1 the theme was inspired by a Nordic palette where the space was designed as a monochromatic landscape of deconstructed volumes and fixtures, using a paired down aesthetic. We wanted to start out the nine months with a very sparse aesthetic to grow from and have the overall concept of our ‘work in progress’ drawings be visible from the beginning. White lines defined volumes within the space, describing archetypal house and ladder shapes in a distorted perspective. Creating more intimate dining setting within the space by framing them with the Roof like structures framed tables throughout and ladders cut at angles served as room dividers.
The deconstructed chandeliers take their cue from a classic chandelier with cut cardboard prisms and large globe light bulbs.
The over table pendants are made from pages cut out from a Cookbook purchased at Housing Works for $1.

Valentines Day / Budget $150
Fabric installation with one big stroke of hot pink fading into deep purple, lowering the ceiling by 18″ making the space more intimate.

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Movement 2
Food: Chef John Fraser / Sound: Joshua Benyard / Interior design: Elle Kunnos de Voss, The Metrics

With the forest/ where the wild things are theme of Movement 2 the interior design concept for Movement 2, is taking on a play with scale. The space is defined by an installation of over-sized pine needles that create a movement across the ceiling. Stretching to the floor in some areas the pine needles act as room dividers.

Throughout the space little moments unveil the fantastical forest theme such as two moss-laden swings with miniature landscapes of plants and birds, bird houses nestled in the pine needles and various animal tracks on the floor, walls and selected tables.

The over table pendants are made from a sheet of stationary held together with a single staple. The stationary, screen printed bird motif on vintage typing paper, is designed by Adrienne Wong. The counter area light fixtures are made with live moss and small bulbs.

Movement 3
Food: Chef John Fraser / Sound: Ball of fire shoot Flame / Interior design: Elle Kunnos de Voss, The Metrics

Movement 3 takes on a spring garden party theme inspired by Renoir’s «The Luncheon of the Boating Party».  Drawing inspiration from this renown Impressionistic painting, Movement 3 is about taking a trip  into the 1880’s France via 2011 New York.

The interiors draw a few significant elements and from the Renoir painting to re-create an intimate, communal experience reminiscent of 19th century time and place. A 25′ awning like architectural stroke across the room frames the dining settings in warm spring like tones to re-create the communal intimate feeling of the painting.
The ceiling is lit with a ‘garden party’ string light inspired configuration of bulbs. Creating a play between interior and exterior, elements such as branch-like light fixtures and iconic Still life wall sconces nod both to nature and the genre of painting. Throughout the space, guests will likewise discover details that reference the time period, such as 1900’s inspired graphics across the tables and period pieces.
The bathrooms are divided between male and female interpretations of the time period, drawing inspiration from a boudoir and harbor graphics respectively.

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This project is a creative collaboration between chef John Fraser, Brand manager Emilie Baltz and Designer Elle Kunnos de Voss, The Metrics.

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