The project is representative of Andre Kikoski Architect’s style – inventive, dramatic and highly tactile. Sculptural forms for the flared ceiling, undulating banquette, and torqued bar and communal table are crafted in contemporary materials. They are based on Wright’s underlying geometries. The design brings to life a play between these sculptural elements and the architecturally-layered, illuminated materials that invite participation and a sense of delight for all patrons.
The Guggenheim commissioned one of Kikoski’s friends and neighbors, the artist Liam Gillick, to a site-specific piece that runs around the walls and up the ceiling. Made of extruded aluminum in shades of yellow and orange, it helps museumgoers make a connection between the restaurant and what goes on in the adjacent .
But most of Kikoski’s efforts were spent attempting to evoke the movement of the building’s signature ramp — short of making diners seasick, of course — by exaggerating the arced perspective of the room and filling it with highly tactile materials. “The same way you view the art differently from different points in the spiral, what you see from across the space isn’t the same as what you see when you get closer,” he said. The wall behind the bar is lined in fiber-optic wood; the metal bar front has a textured ; and mesh stretched behind the blue leather banquettes is patterned with a tiny version of Wright’s “primitive initial,” the football-like shape of the rotunda’s columns and fountain, which formed the basis for Kikoski’s . Wright, whose many utopian fantasies were on view in the Guggenheim’s recent 50th anniversary retrospective, was never shy about embracing the future. It’s nice to see the museum thinks along the same lines.