katsuya opens in new york city with maximalist japanese interiors by rockwell group

katsuya opens in new york city with maximalist japanese interiors by rockwell group

katsuya opens its doors in new york

 

the design team at rockwell group has curated a new space for katsuya, merging the luxury of manhattan west with the traditions of japanese craft and artistry. the restaurant‘s founder, master sushi chef katsuya uechi, has seen katsuya thrive in miami, the bahamas, and across los angeles. now with the help of rockwell group, the dining experience opens its doors for the first time in new york city.

 

david rockwell and his team celebrate their experience in both theater and luxury hospitality, crafting interiors with the attention to detail of a theatrical set (see a roundup of rockwell’s work here). with katsuya manhattan west, the group first referenced the design language consistent across the restaurant’s locations before fusing it with traditional japanese aesthetics. these include ‘kumiki‘ wood joinery, ‘urushi‘ lacquer, and ‘ukiyo-e‘ prints depicting ‘floating worlds’ — all of which can be spotted throughout the meticulously crafted space.

katsuya new york
images © nikolas koenig | @nikolaskoenig

 

 

rockwell group evokes the past and present

 

with its newly opened katsuya manhattan west, rockwell group (see more) crafts a theatrical experience which at once evokes the past and present. approaching the restaurant from the citizens food hall, guests are taken on a progressive journey that leads from the sushi bar and lounge into a linearly arranged series of three dining areas, plus a private dining room.

 

the space includes an outdoor dining terrace at the end of the hallway-like arrangement, which seats almost half as many guests as the indoor dining rooms. in total, katsuya at citizens will boast nearly 7,000 square feet of space and accommodate 305 diners.

katsuya new york

 

 

the restaurant’s diverse layout

 

upon entering the restaurant from the citizens food hall, visitors are gradually lead through a sushi bar and lounge, and into a linear array of three dining areas, plus a private dining room. punctuating this corridor of spaces is the outdoor dining terrace which seats nearly half as many guests as the indoor dining rooms, to accommodate an overall total of 305 diners.

 

each of the dining spaces at rockwell group’s katsuya offers its own, unique experience. the first stop — the sushi bar and lounge — seats those looking for a light bite or a sushi-only meal. next, the central dining area hosts a communal table and a handful of two-tops. here, the table is surrounded by a series of printed glass screens, creating a sense of enclosure while maintaining an atmosphere that is light and open. the dining room to the right — for small to medium-sized parties — is painted a warm cream color and features linen drapery on either side, creating an open and airy environment.

 

the final indoor dining area includes two-, four-, six-, and eight-top tables, as well as a robata grill, a specialty that katsuya founder chef katsuya uechi is renowned for pioneering in the west. at the end of the hall is a private dining room that can sit ten. finally, the terrace dining area seats up to 98 guests across two- and four-top tables, lounge seating, and an outdoor bar.

katsuya new york

 

 

learning from the past

 

rockwell group references japanese tradition with its katsuya at citizens in new york. the team shows a meticulous attention to culturally significant details, right from the entryway which is painted in a deep red color of urushi lacquer. this moment evokes the upwardly curved lintels of torii gates or the dramatic swoosh of a pagoda’s roof. the word ‘katsuya’ is engraved out of the curving ceiling panel, referencing a fundamental interiors concept of ma, or negative space.

 

the sushi bar is washed in a deep red, from the floors, the ceiling, and the bar itself. the lounge tables opposite the bar are separated by three ribbed glass screens with a blue-to-red ombre effect, echoing the translucence of shōji paper with a contemporary materiality.

katsuya opens in new york city with maximalist japanese interiors by rockwell group

 

 

the dining rooms express japanese aesthetics with a maximalist approach, departing from the minimalist tendencies seen today to celebrate the katsuya brand. the printed glass screens re-appear in the central room, hung from blackened metal bracings designed thoughtfully to recall kumiki japanese joinery. the communal table is finished with red lacquer and is illuminated by a custom, rockwell group-designed lighting fixture with a sweeping gesture that is suggestive of calligraphic strokes.

 

a series of bold, organically shaped portals delineates between the dining areas. these portals are framed by red lacquer panels along with vermillion stained wood blocks suggesting timber tiles. several walls are adorned with imagery of dancers and their fans. finally, the checkerboard pattern on the oak wood floor is a direct reference to kabuki theater, as this pattern was named after a popular edo period actor (sanogawa ichimatsu) who frequently wore it. other wagara patterns, like kikkou (tortoiseshell) and kagome (basket weave), add a sense of dynamism.

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