Right on the Hudson, Enter Architecture principal Patrick Keane's design for a West Village bar is as fluid as the river itself
Aric Chen -- Interior Design, 9/1/2002 12:00:00 AM
On the far edge of the West Village, West is named for what was at first the bar's only redeeming feature: a sunset-perfect view across the Hudson River. So when Enter Architecture principal Patrick Keane was hired, he set out to capture the solar pyrotechnics while creating order out of the awkwardly planned ground floor of a hastily constructed apartment building. Thanks to his firm's dual expertise in built spaces and event design, the resulting look, he says, is "Zen meets downtown."
To start, Keane made sense of two oddly placed columns by fitting the bar between them and installing beer taps on both. The bar thus became an island, wrapped in gently contoured metal mesh. To unify this sculptural form with the orthogonality of the abutting columns, he sheathed them in metal mesh, too. "You can see right through them—see the pipes inside. The mesh creates a moiré effect," the architect says. He organized the ceiling's haphazard mechanical systems into three stepped planes, while a grid of undulating hand-cut glass light fixtures, custom designed, slopes upward as it nears the windows.
Most striking is Keane's use of black slate. Aside from the bar surface, tabletops, and a drinks ledge, the stone literally stacks up to its potential on the walls. Polished slabs from 3/4 to 11/4 inches thick, randomly arranged, scintillate at dusk and glow in dim incandescents at night. "It took me two months just to find a slate guy," Keane recalls. The highlight among numerous optical effects, it undoubtedly required the patience of a Zen master to install.