This week kicked off for me in the most glamorous of ways: attending the 2012 James Beard Awards.
Beyond stuffing myself with lamb sausage, crunchy cornbread-studded beans, and strawberry shortcake, it was great to see a project we covered in our March issue, the renovation of Le Bernardin(www.le-bernardin.com) by Bentel & Bentel Architects (www.bentelandbentel.com), get recognized for Outstanding Restaurant Design.
This Midtown restaurant, which opened in 1986, is one of New York’s most iconic. When chef Eric Ripert and Maguy Le Coze entrusted Bentel & Bentel to transform their classy seafood shrine with the presence of a more casual, no jackets-necessary lounge in which to leisurely sip Manhattans, they gave the team a number of key words to guide the design.
In our March article, Ripert revealed, “We wanted more comfort and luxury, something that is contemporary, but timeless and more convivial and sexy. We kept our original clientele but at the same time we have been able to rejuvenate. It’s a great mix between loyalists and newcomers.”
Bentel & Bentel allowed this to happen by making the new lounge, enlarged by ripping out an old closet, manage to feel connected to the more hushed dining room. A teak wall subtly separates the two spaces, yet the more casual lair is just as elegant with a delicately veined onyx bar and strands of twisted metal appearing on the walls.
As Carol Bentel noted in the article, “We wanted it to be a subtle use of natural materials.”
Congratulations to the team on such a successful and graceful revamp!