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Dutch East Design is a branding and interior design studio specializing in hospitality. With a multidisciplinary approach, the firm’s services are many and varied. Dutch East Design creates tailor-made environments with artistry and technical precision.
The studio is passionate about design and committed to the quality of all aspects of its projects. The team thoughtfully evaluates the unique nature of each project by listening, identifying the social, functional, aesthetic, and fiscal needs.
Dutch East Design’s team is a powerful collection of New York’s best talent, whose skill and enthusiasm are harnessed by a love for transforming ideas into reality. As much a business resource as a designer, the company fosters a culture of collaboration, working with owners, operators, and consultants, bringing to bear extensive experience, as well as re-examining industry norms to find opportunities for innovation.
This project was the confluence of Dutch East Design’s continuing work in The Casco in Panama City, and the long relationship with the collective of bartenders from Macao Trading Company and Employees Only. A strong synergy resulted in an interior design and brand identity which was highly contextual, blending the tropical and historical vibes of Central America with the client’s New York roots.
The interior design follows the area’s vernacular very closely, embracing some of the repurposed and salvaged aspects to be found in The Casco, in its various stages of decay and rejuvenation. Walls are hand-troweled stucco, with a datum to transition from sage green to white – a common condition in this context. The natural stained beadboard ceiling with overhead fans further captures the breezy tropical vibe, as do the bentwood dining chairs and marble tabletops.
Dutch East Design meticulously drafted up an elaborate and intricate rope screen design, strand by strand, based closely on kibaku, a Japanese style of bondage. The walnut bar, back bar, and post and beam system for the rope screen, were all crafted on-site. Because of the great tension placed on the rope screen framing, especially high standards were met in design and construction. Cocktail tables, bar stools, chandeliers, banquettes, and chef’s tables were all designed custom for the project.
Nickel and Diner anchors the corner of Howard and Centre Streets, at the border of SoHo and Chinatown, NYC. The diner occupies the iconic pagoda building of Chinatown.
The palette mixes warm tones – the wood half-round dowel coffee bar, walnut stained millwork, and custom banquettes – with the black and white graphic finishes throughout. Custom lighting and mirrors are found throughout the diner and provide a warm glow from morning to night. The diner’s new facade is composed of black and white tile with a custom glazed storefront made up of bands of textured glass. The eastern morning light to spills into the interior during the day, and glows brightly at night welcoming guests in.
Building on existing Ichicoro’s brand recognition in neighboring Tampa, Ichicoro Ane in St. Pete was to be the spirited big sister (“Ane” is Japanese for older sister) — she embraces tradition, but has set out on her own path. Ane is far larger than the other Ichicoro locations, with a more expansive menu and a lively bar scene styled after a traditional Izakaya.
Ichicoro’s ramen tribe is growing: after Ichicoro in Tampa, Ichicoro Imoto (“little sister”) opened in a food hall in Birmingham, Alabama, with another iteration to open in the Armature Works building, Tampa Heights. Dutch East Design’s task for Ichicoro Ane was to maintain the Ichicoro ramen DNA while adding other dimensions of dining and gathering.
Working within this historic townhouse was inspiring; there was always a sense of awe when one walked into the dining room. The vaulted ceiling and historic oval skylight, which are extremely rare to find in New York, gave Dutch East Design an amazing starting point. The existing wall paneling, floors, windows, and bar details needed only slight modification to meet the lighter, modern Italian design direction.
Inspiration was found in classic Italian speedboats and cars for the layering of sleek lines, rich woods with brass inlay, and quilted leather interiors. 1960s mod fashion introduced vibrant colors, textures and fabrics. Furniture and lighting selections provided the curved profiles, softer lines and luxurious textures of the Italian inspiration.
The Library of Distilled Spirits, located in the Hyatt Union Square on the corner of 4thAve and 13thstreet, reflects both the past and future of the ever-changing East Village. A large communal library table sits beneath a large suspended chandelier. The comfortable eclectic mix of furniture including tufted banquettes, found vintage captain’s chairs and loose tables allow guests to relax during the day or enjoy cocktails in a livelier environment at night. Custom brass light fixtures line the walls and the zinc bar top elevates the experience and warms the space. Just like the East Village itself, The Library of Distilled Spirits toes the line between casual or sophisticated.
The well-established Mexican restaurant group, Rosa Mexicano, sought out Dutch East Design to provide an interior design rebrand for their latest venture, in TriBeCa. The brief was to create a stylish, classic, and beautiful flagship. The concept is a bistro mixed with a traditional Mexican Hacienda, with many elements sourced directly from Guadalajara.
Inspired by the region’s famous hand-blown glass, the 100-seat restaurant glows with the soft light from custom glass fixtures hand-blown in Brooklyn, including glass sconces blown into steel cages over the main bar. Also, over 100 amber pendants hand-picked from the markets of Guadalajara are hung in the private dining room, where they catch the natural light filtering through them from the skylight.
Dutch East Design converted the beautiful church rectory, formerly the site of the Limelight nightclub, into a Chinese glam restaurant. The inspiration for the space came from a group of revolutionary Chinese painters and personalities from the Limelight days, such as Peter Gatien and Andy Warhol. Each space within the restaurant is distinguished from the next, retaining much of the building’s character while introducing a rich and contemporary intervention with many custom furnishings and fixtures.
Like no other rooftop in Milwaukee – 5,000 square feet of landscaped terrace with expansive day beds, fire pits and a shuffleboard court. The Outsider is an excellent example of how a visual identity develops hand-in-hand with interior design – the design for the custom wall covering, designed specifically for The Outsider, was adopted in on-site printed collateral such as menus, bill-folds, and brass elevator threshold.
Looking out across the boardwalk to the ocean, Ebb’s Coastal Kitchen’s interior space is a convivial arrangement of welcoming banquettes and Pullman’s clad in painted bead-board, inviting large groups and families. The palette consists of warm whites, two-tone light green tile, white-washed woods, painted bead-board, all to create a lived-in, coastal vibe. At one end of the terrazzo and tile bar is a raw bar.
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