Mad for Mod
At Sushi A-Go-Go, a New York restaurant by Tree House Design, '60s decor is the catch of the day
Sheila Kim -- Interior Design, 5/1/2002 12:00:00 AM
From the Austin Powers phenomenon to the recent resurgence of graphic-print shirts and go-go boots, there's a '60s flavor in the air—a trend that chef David Ruggerio and his business partner, Gerard Renny, astutely channeled for a new Manhattan restaurant venture. The two cooked up a basic concept, a sushi bar with a mod mood, and canvased the Upper West Side for a prime location. Their search—made easier by the fact that the space didn't have to accommodate cooking equipment such as exhaust outlets—narrowed to a small storefront, a former eyewear boutique near Lincoln Center. Thus was born Sushi A-Go-Go.
To oversee the the 1,400-square-foot interior, Renny turned to architect Jack Baum of Tree House Design, who had collaborated on a previous Renny eatery. For Sushi A-Go-Go, Baum created a cheeky vibe by deploying space-age materials and '60s-influenced imagery—beginning with the logo, a stylized daisy. This flower-power motif reappears as a cutout along a wall of shimmering discs of Mylar, a popular material for '60s billboards. Baum encased the reception and take-out counter in a giant wrought-iron birdcage that could have been lifted from a nightclub; plastic dining chairs in vibrant orange and yellow strike a further psychedelic note.
A sidewall of backlit frosted-glass panels evocative of rice-paper shoji screens grounds the design in a sense of Japanese culture while visually enlarging the narrow dining room. Framing the sushi bar at the rear, a proscenium hung with balloon shades directs visitors' attention to the chefs at work. At this particular Broadway venue, they're the ones who get top billing.
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