The Michelin-rated restaurant, Public, located in Manhattan, is housed in a space evocative of its name. The main aesthetic goal for designers/owners Avro|KO was to create an egalitarian gathering space by celebrating the best of the public institutions that are part of the shared American experience – post offices, libraries, and schools.
The restaurant occupies a building, built in 1886, that was once home to two electrical companies, one of which is rumored to have briefly employed Thomas Edison. The space was stripped bare and rebuilt using a mix of modern materials and salvaged fixtures from the civic institutions that Public celebrates. Throughout the dining room, bar, and lounge are salvaged industrial light fixtures. A massive card catalog holds old menus and supports a library of 1940’s- & 1950’s-era magazines and books. Frosted glass doors from an abandoned schoolhouse are used at the restrooms. Even the chef’s choice wine reserve program uses old bronze post office boxes as wine lockers. The chef delivers a bottle of wine with notes and special event invitations every month through these iconic objects. The eclectic mix of unexpected-yet-familiar reclaimed elements reflects the spirit the menu and creates a unique atmosphere for guests.
Reclaimed Materials (by application): Doors/Windows, Furnishings, Light Fixtures
Location: New York, NY
Date of Completion: 2003
Contractor: Chris Larkin
Architectural Record Article