Designed in collaboration with ICRAVE Design Studio, this Japanese-inspired restaurant is located inside New York's Bryant Park Hotel. The design team applied 'individual elements to the overall architectural premise so as to limit the amount of renovation work in the existing space,' explains Cummings. At the owner's request, the lighting design team worked toward a minimal lighting scheme for a dim and sexy candlelit environment.
In keeping with the sensual atmosphere, a limited number of downlights were used. Instead, selectively chosen focal points are accented throughout the space-the tables, for instance, are lit with pinspot downlights hidden in the structure above. Incorporating both large and small events into the design, the team constructed a feature wall made up of half-cut tree trunks holding candles in front of one-way mirrors for an enchanting effect.
Two significant features of Koi are its immense overarching netlike structure and custom-designed chandeliers. Used to unify individual seating areas, separated for intimacy by uplit slat walls or bamboo, the enormous fiberglass trellis decreases the volume of the space, drawing the eye in, and elongating the dining area. Surface-mounted, multi-head MR16 fixtures streak light across the structure, highlighting the contrasts in its texture and three-dimensionality. 'The trellis material has a really soft quality,' says Cummings, 'and the color reflected light well, which provided a soft, ambient source for the entire space.'
Inspiration for the chandeliers came from the Japanese Koi fish. Rectangular pieces of orange glass (signifying the scales) are arranged around a black steel frame enveloping a center-lit acrylic shroud containing strings of LEDs (signifying the roe). Similar to the glow provided by an 'irregular' candle, the light created is 'a little bit orange, white, and pink,' explains Cummings. To accent the glass 'scales,' four MR16 fixtures angle in on the chandelier, highlighting it from the outside. 'The chandeliers provide the space with a warm glow, as well as a beautiful focal point,' says Cummings. 'All the other illuminated elements take on a support role in creating the intimate, candlelit feel.'