TOY is a multi-sensory, stimulating fantasy playground, designed to thrill and entertain. The space is designed by award winning Jeffrey Beers International and hospitality visionaries Derek and Daniel Koch of DUAL Groupe in partnership with China Grill Management. Derek and Daniel look at nightlife through the creative prism of art, fashion and music, and created a space that is decidedly “downtown”.
The twelfth collaboration between restaurateur Jeffrey Chodorow and Jeffrey Beers completed in June 2012, the club’s centerpiece is an expansive ceiling installation of mirrored triangles—origami meets 1,500-pound disco ball. The fractal ceiling is echoed in both custom chandeliers and the design of the DJ booth.
The light bounces off the reflective elements while state-of-the-art digital mapping technology is projected onto the surface of the booth, surrounding guests in a surreal, kaleidoscopic world. For the perimeter of the space, the JBI team commissioned a bold custom-designed graphic printed on vinyl.
Toy marks the first application of this product, the same material used to wrap buses, in an interior space. The current graphic spans one double-height wall and references antique Ming-era China patterns, its glossy finish resembling porcelain. As befits the Toys mutable design, the wall graphic will be changed seasonally. Toy’s design intentionally plays with layers and views through the space. A glass and blackened steel stair leading to the mezzanine level rises between the graphic wall and a sheer scrim.
The scrim reveals gauzy silhouettes of guests on the stair as they pass in front of the bold patterns on the wall behind. To bring a sense of order to this dramatic and irregularly configured, 2,000-square-foot venue, the design team created a series of different dining moments in the space by using a variety of table shapes and sizes throughout the restaurant.
A range of banquettes, cozy nooks, or long communal tables accommodates large parties or intimate dates, and an outdoor patio welcomes guests in the warm weather.
- One of Toy’s most dramatic features is a mirrored fractal ceiling weighing in at 1500lbs, fabricated by Arch Production & Design NYC. Sheer custom printed screens from Rosebrand reveal gauzy silhouettes of guests on the stairs.
- The images decorating the DJ booth are created by digital mapping projections which recognise each fractal piece of the booth, meaning that the projections only hit that surface rather than being reflected around the space.
- Jeffrey Beers created several different dining moments throughout Toy, using different tables shapes and arrangements to create variety of dining options. The fragmented star like custom chandeliers suspended above the bar area were created by Arch Production & Design NYC.
- While the interior space is the music-fueled heartbeat of TOY, the exterior spaces keep the energy flowing through al fresco dining and lounging. The Oyster Bar offers guests the opportunity to experience TOY in a breezy social atmosphere through 3 individual living/dining room spaces and 2 expansive terraces.
- As a nod to the chic, outdoor dining and late night parties of St. Tropez and Cannes, the design exudes casual luxury through plush details and flexible seating allowing guests to be seen or tucked away. Dramatic lighting and a new aluminum “awning” jogs angularly along the space, electrifying the exterior to passersby and creating a strong visual mark for both the hotel and TOY.
Background of the TOY design:
Jeffrey Beers International (JBI) was given just seven weeks to renovate a restaurant in New York, project designer Robert DelPazzo really had to think on his feet. ‘It was probably the fastest total transformation of a restaurant I’ve ever worked on,’ says DelPazzo. ‘It was almost like some crazy reality-TV show.’
The brief was to transform a Japanese restaurant in the Gansevoort Hotel in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District into a more up-to-date and versatile restaurant/bar/club called Toy; and the client was Jeffrey Chodorow, a successful restaurateur for whom JBI has designed several restaurants, including the acclaimed China Grill, also in New York.
From the beginning of the project Chodorow was adamant that the new restaurant should be open in time for Memorial Day weekend just seven weeks away, so there was no time to make mood boards and sketches – the usual way the practice would begin a project. Instead, DelPazzo and his team, which included designers Rebecca McBride and Monika Chmielewska, went straight into modelling the space using 3D design software, creating a dramatic mirrored fractal ceiling, weighing in at 680kg, that is suspended over the dining room and also encompasses the DJ booth. To make the process as rapid as possible, the designers used a programme called Rhino, which allows 3D designs to be read by a CNC cutting machine.
Chodorow wanted the restaurant to be a place where people would be happy to spend the whole evening, rather than somewhere they would go to eat before moving on to a bar or nightclub. ‘In this area of Manhattan you can’t just be a restaurant; you have to be a bar, a restaurant, a nightclub, all in one,’ says DelPazzo, ‘so the idea was that the feel of the restaurant should change throughout the evening.’
As an easy and effective way of changing the look and feel of the space as the evening progresses, DelPazzo decided to use mapping software to project images and video content on to the mirror panels of the fractal ceiling. The mapping software is able to recognise the shape of the surface it is projecting on to, so in this case it only projects images on the mirrored panels and not the ceiling or walls behind it – although it is also projected on to a scrim which separates the main dining areas from a staircase.
DelPazzo had looked into using video mapping on previous projects, but had always found the cost prohibitive. In this case, he approached a local video artist who specialises in video mapping. ‘It’s usually a really elaborate process and often the first to get “value engineered” out of a project,’ he says. ‘But what was interesting about this project is that we just went straight to the guy who develops the software and worked with him on a small scale. He did it as a sort of experiment. So basically when you project on to that ceiling, the computer programme recognises all of the triangles and is able to project a different thing on each triangle.’
Further decoration comes from photographs DelPazzo took of a Ming vase, which have been enlarged, printed on to a plastic wallcovering and applied directly on the brick walls of the restaurant.
The design blends modern technology with Oriental imagery, in a way redolent of the film Blade Runner, an influence DelPazzo acknowledges. But the designers were keen to soften the ‘tech-noir’ feel of the space and so selected wood live-edge tables and chairs upholstered in leather to give the space a more comfortable feel.
DelPazzo says the restaurant has become ‘a sort of go-to spot in the neighbourhood’, and that the ‘theatrical’ quality created with the projections has helped it to stand out from the many other nightspots in this buzzing part of town. But as well as looking unusual, the restaurant also represents, to DelPazzo and his team, an unusual, exhilarating, and far more intuitive way of working. ‘Since the moment we were given the project we really couldn’t do anything in a typical way where you’d take a few weeks to do drawings and send them out to contractors. We had to go straight into fabrication and model the space as we went – that was a really different approach for us.’
Jeffrey Beers International:
Envisioned as a fluid environment that transitions from dining destination to nightclub, Toy is a nightlife playground inspired by the notion of restaurant as fashion. The 12th collaboration between restaurateur Jeffrey Chodorow and Jeffrey Beers International, its centerpiece is a 1,500-pound ceiling installation of mirrored triangles that pulsates with projections of geishas and Ming dynasty motifs—a sort of origami meets disco ball.
The reflections of light on the fractal architecture as well as the state-of-the-art digital mapping technology projected onto the DJ booth surround guests in a surreal kaleidoscopic world. Sight lines were improved in the irregularly shaped, former restaurant space, allowing for myriad dining moments: cozy nooks for two, long banquettes, and bar-height communal tables, plus a patio.
DUAL Groupe stands alone as the leader in trends in late night entertainment, music, and talent. DUAL Groupe’s brand is synonymous with New York Nightlife. TOY is located in the heart of the Nightlife world, and features state of the art lighting and sound, cutting edge DJ’s, making the space the go-to spot for late night dining, dancing, and the after-club dining experience.
About – TOY:
The enjoyable 125-seat Toy (at the Gansevoort Hotel) is proof that it’s not all about the food. This Vegas meets Disney-esque spot has lots of slick black surfaces, waiters in neon touches, piped in 80s music and the requisite cutely-monikered drink menu. Dishes are the sort of food that would make truly authentic Chinese chefs cringe but which find fan favourites in any kind of shared situation.
Shrimp toast cigars with a golden plum sauce, XO shrimp fried rice, tangerine filet mignon, and chicken salad with cripsy wontons and a sesame citrus vinaigrette. In short, batter-dipped, lightly fried, lots of sweet and sour or soy-ish sauces. But aside from a wonderful mahogany chicken with market vegetables (that incidentally tastes nothing like wood), the food is not out to win foodie awards (there’s also sushi, but not the kind you find at craft-driven sushi spots); so what makes this spot so delightful? It could be nostalgia; the spot is part Surf Club, part Less Than Zero, and even the pop music is twinged with memories (Cradle of Love, Two of Hearts, I Can Dream About You, Danger Zone, We Are Young).
It could be the drinks that smack of a good vacation; the Pink Lagoon is vodka with muddle berries, lemon, mint, yuzu and soda, or the Mangocello is rum, mango and proscecco. Even the “manly” drink, the Big Trouble with its Glenfiddich base, comes with a plastic monkey and bendy straw. But the formula we think is this place just doesn’t take itself too seriously. The result is a crowd of notables (Penn Badgley, Solange Knowles, and Paz de la Huerta) partying it up happily with tourists (till 4am on weekends), in this decidely escapist spot.
- As a magnificent fusion of cultures, TOY gives the meatpacking district a distinct destination for foodies, fashionistas, art-lovers, club goers and night/day-life aficionados.
Project name: Toy Restaurants
Location: Hotel Gansevoort, 18 Ninth Ave, New York, New York 10014, United States
Type: Lounge / Bar / Restaurant / Night Clubs
Project Year: 2010-2012
Project Area: 2,000 sq. ft
Completion Year: June 2012
Visit Design Museum Holon’s website: here
Client / Owner / Developer: China Grill Management, Derek Koch, Daniel Koch
Interior Designer: Jeffrey Beers International – 156 Fifth Ave, Penthouse II, New York, NY 10010, United States
Collaborators: Jeffrey Chodorow
Fabrication: Arch Production & Design NYC – arch-nyc.com
Lighting: Sound Stage Systems – soundstagesystems.com
Video Mapping: Arch Production & Design NYC/ Dan Baker – arch-nyc.com
Text Description: © Courtesy of Jeffrey Beers International, worldinteriordesignnetwork, Toy Restaurants, worldarchitecturenews
Images: © Jeffrey Beers International, Toy Restaurants
Materials & Suplier:
- From the Source – fromthesourceny.com
- Walter Knoll – walterknoll.de
- Pedrali – pedrali.it
- InMod – inmod.com
- JC Furniture – jcfurniture.us
- Rosebrand – rosebrand.com
- Gus Group – gusny.com
- Koroseal – koroseal.com
- Five Star – fivestarfurniture.com