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Soft Opening by INABA

Project: Soft Opening at Whitney Museum of American Art
Designed by INABA
Location: New York, NY
As part of 2010, the Whitney Biennial, INABA was commissioned to design a pop-up café located in the museum’s interior courtyard. The project consists of three large-scale lanterns that occupy the courtyard’s double-height space, a 24-foot long service counter, communal tables, high-top counters and droopy seat cushions. Continue for more after the jump:


However bold in form or expressive in materials, it was striking to INABA that postwar architecture is vulnerable to appearing cold, incomplete and lacking in detail. Depending on the character of the interior design, even the strongest statements of modern architecture such as Breuer’s building can today sometimes verge on feeling unadorned, like a dentist office waiting area. In response, INABA wanted to add another scale of detail and information to the interior. Only instead of using stark simple forms and exposed natural materials, they tried to rehumanize the space with curved shapes and a palette of synthetic materials (fiberglass, resin, nylon, acrylic and vinyl).

In conjunction with Jeffrey Inaba’s Columbia University-based group, C-Lab, INABA developed graphic design elements for the café, including T-shirts, signage and the menu. In addition, they created order cards, which together comprise an unofficial Whitney Museum of American Art Building Materials Collection. Each card shows the front and back surface of a material found in the building.

Operated by Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group, the café features sandwiches created specifically for the pop-up by USHG’s renowned chefs and are available at the Whitney only through early Fall 2010. – from INABA

Principal: Jeffrey Inaba
Project Designers: Simon Battisti, Talene Montgomery
Darien Williams, Benedict Clouette, Nicholas Solakian, Anna Leach, Joon Bae Park, Genevieve Rainsberger, Dana Nishimura Bryan
Lantern Fabrication: Kreysler & Associates
Furniture Fabrication: Atta Inc
Upholstery: Greg Georgi
Lighting: Doug Russell, Lighting Workshop
Engineering: Arup, New York
Photo Credits: Naho Kubota

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