Since the late ‘90s, it has been nearly impossible to experience hip hospitality in Manhattan without encountering Studio GAIA’s mark. Thanks to dramatic designs for the new W Hotels in Mexico City and Seoul, the firm’s influence is now being felt internationally.
Beginning with hip noodle eatery Republic, a 1996 James Beard Award finalist for restaurant design, Studio GAIA has artfully blended chic minimalism with a theatrical flair to design a succession of fashionable institutions. Chelsea restaurant Cafeteria’s ultra-mod interpretation of the ‘50s diner was followed by sexy sushi emporium BondSt. in Noho, then Harlem hotspot Jimmy’s Uptown. These enduringly popular destinations have inspired the spin-offs: Cafeteria Miami, as well as Jimmy’s Downtown in New York.
As Studio GAIA expanded, Founder Ilan Waisbrod developed the firm’s unique philosophy an approach that focuses on creating harmony between interior and exterior architectural forms while eschewing the purely ornamental. To insure the clarity of their vision, Waisbrod designed nearly all of the furniture for their projects. Inspirations ranged from Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe to art installations and natural forms.
Then Michael Jordan called. Studio GAIA was tabbed to design his 23 Restaurant in college basketball Mecca Chapel Hill, NC, and the firm’s stunning abstract riff on the sport helped extend the firm’s reach across the United States, including another 23 and a Michael Jordan’s The Steakhouse at the Mohegan sun Casino in Connecticut, Neyla restaurant in Washington, D.C., the Light Nightclub in Las Vegas, and the Wave Restaurant at the W Lakeshore in Chicago. New York projects included a Rockefeller Center flagship for Kenneth Cole and posh Chelsea lounge Suede.
Mirroring the firm’s diverse creative output, Waisbrod assembled a creative team hailing from nine countries as Studio GAIA grew: Israel, India, Hong Kong, Korea, Turkey, Brazil, Mexico, Japan and Dominica. Titles were spurned to encourage a collaborative atmosphere and free flow of ideas. Linking Studio GAIA’s innovative composition was a unique brand of imaginative, Zen-infused minimalism.
Well-established as a force in restaurant and nightclub design, Studio GAIA is now expanding inter- nationally onto the broader canvas of hotels. The firm’s bold, provocative collaboration with W Hotels in Mexico City and W Walkerhill in Seoul, Korea represent an exciting aesthetic departure for W’s first Latin American and Asian ventures. Recent Projects in include Busan Paradise Hotel in Korea, Tao Restaurant and Nightclub in Las Vegas, Alliance Capital’s Corporate Cafeteria, STAND and Dishes in New York.
Also in the works are: PLAYBOY MANSION EAST for Macau Studio City in Macau, China; Durango Stations and Aliante Stations Entertainment Lounge Theatres and Center Bar in Las Vegas and a breathtaking private residence perched on a seaside cliff in El Tamarindo Mexico.
HOTELS RESTAURANT BAR CLUB DESIGN by Studio GAIA was published in June 2006. An exclusive GAIA Furniture Line taken from our projects that will be available to the general public soon.
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