Among the highlights of a busy slate of new openings in 2017, was the opening of Tiffany’s first ever retail dining concept – The Blue Box Cafe in Manhattan.
The Kitchen Consultant:
Jimi Yui, Yui Design, Principal, Takoma Park, MD
The Kitchen Equipment Dealer:
Sue McNulty, Singer Equipment, Director of Sales-National Accounts, Elverson, PA
Reed Krakoff, Tiffany & Co., Chief Artistic Officer, New York, NY
John-Paul O’Neil, Restaurant Associates, Vice President-Operations, New York, NY
The highly anticipated renovation of the iconic store’s fourth floor of its Fifth Avenue flagship store houses both the new Blue Box Cafe and Tiffany’s new luxury Home & Accessories collection of elevated everyday objects, as well as a baby boutique, sterling silver hollowware, a selection of vintage books curated by Assouline and a Tiffany fragrance laboratory.
“Both the café and redesign of the Home & Accessories floor reflect a modern luxury experience,” said Reed Krakoff, chief artistic officer, Tiffany & Co. “The space is experimental and experiential –a window into the new Tiffany.”
The striking interior décor incorporates industrial details that evoke Tiffany’s craftsmanship and heritage. Playful and unexpected touches sit harmoniously alongside elegant finishes like herringbone marble and amazonite stone, reflecting the new Home & Accessories collection’s emphasis on everyday luxury.
The staircase leading to the fourth floor features a modern trio of nearly 15-foot-high light chains, created by the Paris-based design duo Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec. The dramatic light fixture is surrounded by hand-drawn ampersands, a design motif of the latest Home & Accessories collection. A portrait of Charles Lewis Tiffany (CLT) was commissioned and rendered with 8,000 painted screws, offering a contemporary take on the luxury house’s founder.
The iconic Tiffany Blue® is infused throughout the interior floor plan and most notably at the forefront of the café’s design. The Blue Box Café serves American classics made with the highest quality, regionally sourced ingredients. The simple menu, which will change and evolve through the seasons, is a refined take on signature New York dishes, reinvented to be uniquely Tiffany. The setting is as inviting as the food is inspiring, serving customers who have always dreamed of having Breakfast at Tiffany.
Tiffany’s has selected one of the nation’s pre-eminent firms to operate its inaugural foray into dining: Restaurant Associates. Restaurant Associates is recognized as the nation’s premier hospitality company, operating over 160 prestigious locations. Restaurant Associates, based in New York City, provides premium food services to museums, performing art centers, aquariums, corporate dining, educational facilities and off-premise catering events in New York City, Boston, Hartford, Atlanta, Washington D.C., Philadelphia and Toronto. Restaurant Associates is a subsidiary of Compass Group North America, the world’s leading foodservice organization.
Restaurant Associates wanted Tiffany’s team to bring a pair of the food service industry’s pre-eminent design/build firms to the project. Maryland based, Yui Design and its principal Jimi Yui is well known across the globe for his ability to bring his design vision to successful restaurants all over the world. Singer Equipment was selected for the firm’s ability to understand the equipment needs of Tiffany and Yui. Singer’s Sue McNulty served as a key contributor to coordinating the equipment and supply needs of such a complex design.
“It was fascinating embracing the challenge of helping to create the romance and excitement around the notion of having ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’”, Yui said. “Like any project of great significance, I needed to overcome some challenges,” noted Yui. Given the value of Manhattan retail space, Yui was challenged with limited space to design the cafe. In coordination with Tiffany’s an additional support space was created on the same floor. “One of the key challenges was to understand how to utilize ventless equipment to accommodate a kitchen,” Yui noted.
“One of the most interesting and obvious challenges is that you need to understand that you can be expediting food orders through a retail store,” Yui explained. So the veteran designer who has such a unique understanding of the operation challenges of the chefs and restaurateur operators that he serves devised a plan. “We began with the hot area, and included a coffee station and a TurboChef oven. Around that equipment, we built the garde manger, as well as a pastry station. In addition, it was necessary to create a robust beverage station, because there are extensive wine and champagne offerings.”
Yui continued: “Considering that it’s a relatively open design, we needed to ensure that the finish of the kitchen was something that Tiffany’s could be proud of, and I think we achieved that goal.”
McNulty and Singer Equipment, were entrusted to help Yui and the Tiffany’s design team keep the project on track to meet the time line of being open for the 2017 Holiday season. “Our role was to offer some suggestions based on their original spec which in many cases was based on our ability to work with factories to find and finesse delivery and installation on a timely fashion,” McNulty added.
The value of Singer Equipment and McNulty came to the forefront in the custom fabrication segment of the project. “I knew that we needed to get our team in there with the contractor to make sure that the field dimensions were accurate. I knew that we needed to get that info to Carbone Metal Fabricators who did the fabrication with avoiding additional cost.”
Founded in New York in 1837, Tiffany & Co. is the world’s premier jeweler and America’s house of design. An iconic brand with a rich and storied heritage, Tiffany is a global manufacturer and retailer of jewelry and luxury accessories. The company operates more than 300 TIFFANY & CO. stores in more than 20 countries.