Dean & DeLuca STAGE by Ole Scheeren opens in New York’s Meatpacking District
New York City / Apr 3, 2019
Dean & DeLuca, New York’s legendary gourmet market, where cultural icons from Robert De Niro to Donald Judd discovered a unique selection of food from around the world in the Nineteen Seventies and Eighties, forays once again into the territory of discovery and exploration: with the opening of Dean & DeLuca STAGE in the Meatpacking District, Ole Scheeren has created a new vision for a chef-led eatery design that celebrates food as a profound cultural and social experience.
When Joel Dean, Giorgio DeLuca and Jack Ceglic opened their first Dean & DeLuca store in SoHo in 1977, they introduced a novel and radical vision of food as culture to the North American culinary scene. “Their original store was a veritable 'Wunderkammer’ full of drama and surprises” says Ole Scheeren. “Their passion for what they did, combined with a deeply personal view of the qualities of food, its cultural relevance and connection to other art forms – from opera, to visual art and display – inspired a whole generation of New Yorkers.”
“STAGE embodies an interactive, contemporary notion of culture,” says Scheeren. “The idea, with its reference to a theatrical setting, opens a wide spectrum of possibilities and interpretations of a space where people come together, where stories are being told, where performances take place, and where food merges with the notions of entertainment and culture. It is an innovative platform that can integrate and resonate with diverse local contexts throughout the world.”
Dean & DeLuca STAGE puts a spotlight on the presentation and preparation of the food created by Dean & DeLuca’s creative culinary team, but equally celebrates the people involved in the process. STAGE is a pristine, magical object which acts as a dramatic backdrop for food, staff, and the choreography of preparing and assembling its delicacies. It comprises two horizontal volumes of mirrored stainless steel, one floating above the other and containing an undulating topography of white corian that cradles beautifully crafted dishes and fresh ingredients. STAGE is a freestanding object that allows people to circulate around it as they interact with the staff and watch their food being prepared. The sculpted countertop conceals and integrates the complex, custom-made technology to preserve and prepare the food, in a piece of precision engineering.
“Food – its creation, presentation and enjoyment – is one of the most important shared human experiences. However, in this instance we are working at the one end of the spectrum that is by definition the least social: fast food,” says Ole Scheeren. “I conceived STAGE as a social magnet, as a spectacular futuristic showpiece that attracts and brings people together and encourages interaction between the people making and the people consuming food. In this way it has a fundamental social and human ambition.”
The reflective stainless steel surfaces mirror the nature of the space around it, creating a unique visual dialogue with each STAGE location. “We wanted to create an object that was both recognizable and repeatable, but that would also integrate a sense of local specificity and uniqueness,” says Ole Scheeren. “STAGE can be implementable in completely different contexts, it can be prefabricated and the technology standardized, but it also creates a unique dialogue with each ‘found space’ and location it’s placed into.”
Located in one of New York’s most vibrant and lively neighborhoods, in close proximity to the Whitney Museum of American Art and the city’s High Line, the first location in the Meatpacking District will engage residents and tourists alike in this popular day and evening destination.
STAGE was first presented at Design Miami/2016 and represents Büro Ole Scheeren’s interest in shared and communal space, and the ability of architecture to bring people together and explore new possibilities and qualities of social interaction, whether in large-scale developments or more intimate interior projects. The development of STAGE was overseen by OS Development, a New York based project management and design execution firm working with Buro-OS.