Blenheim is located in a historic corner building in New York’s West Village, and takes its name from the owners’ 150-acre farm in the Catskills. Much of the menu is cooked with food grown or produced on the farm. The concept was to create a small urban restaurant that would have a strong visual connection to the country and agriculture - a design that would bring the farm to the city in a simple, approachable way. The restaurant has an intentional hand-built look and feel that furthers the concept.
For the design, there was an owner-architect design collaboration with a shared vision. When it came time to give Blenheim a physical identity, owners Morten Sohlberg and Min Ye collaborated closely with the Architect, Cass Calder Smith. “Our vision for the restaurant is a friendly and inviting space that isn’t trendy. A design that brings the farm to the city in a simple, approachable way,” Morten reflects. The interior architecture balances clean, minimalist lines interrupted by custom and slightly rustic architectural features.
In this case, the artist was the owner. Many pieces throughout the restaurant were created and sourced by the owners and inspired by the farm. The “The Tool Shed” has 18th century hand tools carefully installed on the walls as sculptural art. The hanging lamps were old milk pails found in the forest among the sugar maples of Blenheim Hill Farm. The previous generation of farmers had used them for target practice, which explains the holes. Morten recognized their unique rustic appeal and repurposed them as unique showpieces that contribute a personal touch to the restaurant's architecture, much like many other aspects of the design. Other pieces include the moss green cement tables bordered with copper, built like a puzzle¬ to fit the intimate dining room. Chairs are adorned in bright materials, as well as cozy banquettes that look out from floor to ceiling windows.
In search of a unique experience, great attention to detail has been placed in the ambiance of the restaurant. Realizing that most restaurants are too noisy for pleasant conversation, careful attention has been placed in soft acoustics that allows for pleasant conversation. Primary authentic materials include stained walnut shelves and cabinetry, character grade white oak floors, Carrera marble, and blackened steel.
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CODA: Collaboration of Design + Art
The global online community that celebrates design projects featuring commissioned artworks.
[ manifesto ]
Art matters. Attention to the details of our environment leads to love of place, which brings us to take responsibility for the spaces where we live and work. And by extension, the people with whom we live and work. And by extension, to our local communities, our cities, our nations, and our world.
We champion the role of artists in our society. We need artists to provide us with inspiration, creativity, and imagination, and to help us envision a better world.
Architects and designers know that remarkable design can change everything. They connect the dots across disciplines, collaborating with artists to make the world a more beautiful place. They are the ultimate patrons of the arts.
In the process, design professionals promote imagination and creativity, and through their commissions, make original art integral to and accessible in people's lives.
Art in our public and private spaces helps us fight ordinary buildings, ordinary streets, ordinary cities. We celebrate the extraordinary.
The architecture of our buildings and the design of our interiors affect our happiness and well-being. Each of us deserves a daily dose of inspiration.