Tucked away in one of the world’s greatest urban jungles, a 46-square-metre concrete shell is bursting with life. Reimagined by Russian creative studio Reutov Design, the elevated ground-floor space in New York City is now home to an eye-popping eatery. It’s a special place where Dmitry Reutov, founder and principal of Reutov Design, believes that city workers, food fanatics and coffee-lovers will find respite from the chaos of The Big Apple. Alongside a cult-status brew, of course.
“Among the endless movement of millions of people and cars, you often want to get in touch with nature,” Dmitry says of his New York experience. “Here is an oasis in the midst of a raging stream. We have created a cafe in which it will be comfortable not only to relax, but also to work, escape from the general bustle, enjoy delicious coffee and pleasant music.”
Colourful cafe in New York by Reutov Design
Featuring a bare concrete backdrop with a high-intensity injection of greenery – artificial and otherwise – you’d be forgiven for thinking there’s a ‘lost world’ meets post-apocalyptic ‘nature reclaims the earth’ theme at play. But the designer says there’s a finer balance between nature and mankind’s endeavours. “The rich green colour of nature evokes harmony in the soul,” Dmitry explains. “With the help of glass and metal materials, we convey how natural style and modern architecture can coexist in tandem.”
This partnership sees green reeded panels climb the off-form concrete walls, transparent green-tinged panels colour the greyness and tendril-ish light fittings falling from the cafe ceiling. These custom-designed light pieces, which peek out from a canopy of exposed service shafts (also coloured green), are compared by Dmitry to “bamboo sprouts breaking through the grey concrete” as they clamber towards the plumply upholstered banquettes.
For New Yorkers who opt to dine-in, they can perch in one of eight familiar-looking ‘Papyrus’ armchairs designed by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Kartell. The transparent quality of the chairs is mirrored in the glass wall panels, which don’t cover up the concrete but rather colour it ever-so-slightly. The mix of glass-topped and terrazzo-patterned tables were designed by Dmitry and his 18-person team at Reutov Design. The cartoon cloud-like chandelier above the sales counter is the ‘Tracer Bar I’ by Luke Lamp Co.
Viewed from the main dining room, the bustling streetscape is framed by three windows: one large semi-circle and two smaller deep-set windows, located off to the side. Each trimmed with the same green colour that dominates the cafe, the windows allow natural light to flood the space. As it bounces off blocks of solid green and filters through the glass and plastic finishes, the quality of light is otherworldly. A feeling that’s continued in the bathrooms, which are again swathed in the same shade of green as the front of house; everything from the wall-hung toilets to the hardware and accessories is punctuated just-so.
The skilful use of a memorable, high-octane colour palette is somewhat of a signature for Reutov Design, ever since the studio dramatically shifted its approach after nearly ten years into practice. “In 2017, I decided to radically change my vision of design and architecture,” Dmitry says, who launched Reutov Design in 2008. “I decided to create bright and bold, slightly fantastical interiors.” Living up to the revised direction, the colourful cafe in New York is certainly a feast for the eyes – and no-doubt the appetite, too.
We have created a cafe in which it will be comfortable not only to relax, but also to work, escape from the general bustle, enjoy delicious coffee and pleasant music.