New York architect Peter Guzy is accustomed to fine dining. The co-founder of Asfour Guzy Architects has been crafting upscale eateries throughout the city since the firm's beginnings in 1988, and recently unveiled interiors for Lumaca, the latest from celebrity chef John DeLucie.
The restaurant’s name derives from the Italian word for snail, since DeLucie believes that food should be savored and never rushed—a prospect that could not be more inviting in the sumptuously appointed Italian eatery. Evoking distinct midcentury modern flair, it occupies the back room of midtown Manhattan's HGU Hotel, an otherwise Beaux-Arts-stye gem dating back to 1903.
The design didn't require a complete renovation; in fact, Guzy opted to maintain or restore original elements that already leant themselves to the restaurant's identity, such as the room's historic plasterwork and stately columns. They now mingle elegantly with contemporary touches: a titanium granite bar glistens beneath a Regina Andrew-designed Molten Spider pendant fixture, dramatic circular banquettes flaunt green velvet upholstery, and Southern Italian cuisine is presented on weighty Anfora stoneware. Pared-back design choices like dark wood tabletops offer simplicity and balance, while authentic midcentury sputnik-style chandeliers cast a glow over it all.
DeLucie himself puts it best: "Lumaca is modern, but rooted in early-19th-century glamour and sophistication,” he says. “Much like the ancient cuisine of Puglia, it is updated slightly for a modern palate.”