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Philip Koether Architects

315 West 39th Street

Studio 906

New York  NY 10018

T: 212 737 7109

F: 212 737 7250



Designed to Imbibe: Bar Basque, NYC

What do designers do when even "out-of-the-box" thinking becomes a cliché? It’s time to start thinking "out-of-this-world." Or, at least, that is how architect Philip Koether and designer Syd Mead approached the seating design at New York City’s Bar Basque, the adjacent dining outlet to Eventi hotel, Kimpton Hotels’ most recent NYC project. "For this project we knew the seating had to appeal to many terrifically diverse groups," says Koether. To describe Bar Basque’s design as futuristic seems a bit jarring. As Koether puts it, the ambiance is very "of the next moment," while still referencing the Basque region (primarily the color red and the Bilbao tree). Bold red walls and carpeting pop against jet black and off-white seating, while the bar area is outfitted with stools and blasts of chrome and white.

It was very important in the design to have the space and furniture suit both daytime and nighttime experiences. Each chair has to work constantly for different settings and physiques. Each chair, sofa and table has its own look, which is somewhat reminiscent of someone’s very first apartment, and yet they blend together cohesively in a hodgepodge-meets-sexy-chic fusion.

"It must be universal, ergonomic, comfortable; should stack if at a dining table; aesthetically support the goals of your design concept; and be expressive with a range of options to appeal to diverse personalities and their moods, simultaneously," says Koether. Sound complicated? Maybe to some. But Koether and Mead managed to achieve this harmonious blend that has been pulling in a wide range of demographics since opening.

To do so, they used a combination of old and new: "synthetics" pitted aggressively against "naturals." In other words, geometric furniture intertwined with wildly natural tree-branch tables, or pickled-oak veneered chairs with cast fiberglass tables. "Unlike the dining area—where one size must fit all—it’s best to offer choices in the bar, lounge and club areas if you can," Koether says. “Find pieces which are both commanding and demure, elegant/refined and bold/rustic, and then place them judiciously."


Name of Project: Bar Basque Designer/Architect: Philip Koether Architects/Syd Mead, Inc. Lighting: ILight Technologies; RSA Dining Chair and Barstool Fabrics: Ultrafabrics, LLC. Resin Flooring: Specialty Flooring Systems, Inc. Painting in Private Dining Area: Andrew Schoultz, courtesy of Morgan Lehman Gallery Carpet: Bently Prince Street Window Shades: DFB Sales, Inc. Tables and Chairs: Canoe Hospitality. Wallcovers: Koroseal; Innovations


Bar Basque: life imitates art Bar Basque - a recent CBB project, in collaboration with Philip Koether Architects and Syd Mead - is featured in the January-February 2011 issue of Hospitality Design magazine.  




The new Bar Basque translates art director Syd Mead’s (Blade Runner) conceptual renderings into a real-life restaurant and bar. CBB, working with Philip Koether Architects, conceived the lighting design solution that is so vital in this transformation

The restaurant’s curved, red walls are translucent, and illuminated to glow from within, softening an intense, red color scheme. LEDs are featured throughout the various rooms: the design uses a range of lighting sources, colors and effects to create depth and shadow and bring dimension to the spaces.

Imaginative lighting, creatively applied and carefully detailed into the complex architecture, turns a futuristic art concept into a fine dining experience for today.


Serving up Sci-Fi: Syd Mead & Philip Koether Architects, CBBLD


basque-ing in the future: A visual genius and a top architect collaborate on an eye-popping restaurant.


Cloud Lounge @ Beatrice opens today.