Biber Architects

Biber Architects

New York, NY


JBF LTD Pop-Up Restaurant

The Architecture of Urgency

Biber Architects has designed the new pop up restaurant for the legendary James Beard Foundation. Opening for only 5 weeks the restaurant will serve 80 prix fixe dinners each night prepared by a weekly rotating Internationally renowned star chef.

The space, 4,000 square feet at 75 Ninth Avenue, has been transformed from a clothing store/cafe to a dining and performance space. The driving idea behind the design is the limited run for the restaurant (hence JBF LTD).

How do you drive business to a restaurant that will exist for less time than it takes most people to even realize a restaurant is open? We decided to create a sense of urgency by demonstrating just how quickly time is flying!

A large scale countdown calendar (one writer called it an “Advent Calendar for Gastronauts” on the tables and front windows marks the passing days, and therefore stressing the urgency of making dinner reservations. NOW! The clock is ticking!

JBF LTD is open for only 27 days, serving dinners on only 21 of those days. “Dinner Days” are in black, “Lunch only Days” are in gray.

And as each day ends the chef spray paints a big red X over its number and signs the day. Laurent Gras, the introductory chef, tweeted:Laurent Gras (@LaurentGras) Posted at 2:12 PM April 16, 2011 on Twitter "Last night of the @beardfoundation pop up #jbfltd. My favorite part is spray painting the red x on the table. Tonight 5 goes down."


JBF LTD, the James Beard Foundation Pop-up Restaurant opened April 12, 2011 for its first dinner.
it took 5 days to build at $5/sf, for 5 weeks in operation:

Day 1: assemble chairs (from IKEA)
Day 2: install lighting
Day 3: assemble tables
Day 4: apply table graphics
Day 5: install glass tops and glass jars at back bar

et voilá! Laurent Gras kicked off the fun on Tuesday night, April 12.

Here, in New York Magazine is the restaurant in progress:

James Beard Goes Pop-Up

JBF Ltd stands for the James Beard Foundation Limited, a pop-up restaurant coming to Chelsea Market this week. In stark contrast to the original warm brick-and-wood space, the restaurant has been designed by Biber Architects with minimalist, black and white furniture and more than 1,200 strung lightbulbs. (A budget of only $5 per square foot was allotted.) Several big-name chefs (David Chang, David Kinch, Laurent Gras) will be serving four-course prix-fixe meals on 25-foot-long communal tables for a total of 27 days. And just to stoke your sense of urgency, a giant countdown calendar of three-foot-high numbers will be perched atop the dining tables, with red spray-painted X’s marking off the end of each day (75 Ninth Ave., nr 15th St. dinner Tues.–Sat., 4/12–5/14; $75).

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Status: Built
Location: New York, NY, US