This 3,100 square-foot contemporary Greek restaurant was built in the burgeoning flatiron district of Manhattan. The owners have a thriving restaurant of the same name in Long Island and decided to open a sister restaurant in the city that kept the characteristic design elements of the original location but updated for a more urban and downtown crowd.
Housed in a landmark building on 18th Street, the site had great natural bones and had previously been a two-story restaurant but felt dark and dated. Two key design elements that continued from the original Kyma location were the light overall palette and strategic lighting throughout which produces a transcending glowing effect. While the original Kyma is almost entirely white – walls, furniture and textiles – the urban version was updated to read as primarily white with blue accents and natural textures and warm wood throughout (a subtle and modern take on a traditional Greek pallet and design elements). Custom niches carved into the wall create interesting elevations and allow for authentic artifacts the owners flew in from Greece of various sizes and shapes to be displayed in a uniformed manner.
Being a two-room restaurant – one enters from the street directly into the bar area and then progresses through a partial arch into the main dining area – it was important to design a ceiling that would visually connect the two spaces for an overall unified experience. The white-stained cedar slat ceiling draws one’s eyes from the entrance straight back along an axis through the partial arch and ends on a prominent marble fish display with a skylit stairwell beyond. The lower level is available to rent for private events and houses a second full bar.
The tables and chairs were all custom made with a super high-gloss white finish (both for practical and aesthetic reasons) that contrasts nicely with strips of stained wood on both the chair legs and table edges. Community tables made of stained wood with center strips of marble were designed as a modern take on the classic farm table – an element the Greek owners emphasized was important to them for gathering together over food and family or that which embodies the very essence of Kyma.
Photography: Allyson Ludlow