Gaggenau’s pop-up Restaurant 1683 created an immersive expedition into the Black Forest within the confines of a Chelsea storefront.
By Matthew Hall
The Gaggenau luxury kitchen appliance brand has some serious staying power. The German company is celebrating its 333rd anniversary with a series of pop-up restaurants that evoke the brand’s origins in the Black Forest.
A fleet of fork lifts and a winch were needed to install the just-harvested trees in planters, all part of an ambitious effort to create the feel of the Black Forest within the space. All photos: Courtesy of Gaggenau
The first of those temporary epicurean experiences operated over a four-day period earlier this fall in a 7,700-sq.-ft. space in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood. Tasked with creating a memorable environment within the confines of that non-descript edifice were architect Hendrik Müller, of Munich-based Einszu33; The Lambesis Agency, a La Jolla, California, creative firm; and famed New York set designer Stefan Beckman. Overseeing the food preparation and presentation for the venue were celebrity chef Daniel Humm and restaurateur Will Guidara, both of the high-profile Eleven Madison Park in New York.
The products of luxury kitchen appliance maker Gaggenau are integral to the Restaurant 1683 s dining experience. Placing many of them in wood frames reinforces the rustic theme.
“We wanted Restaurant 1683 to not only reflect the impressive history of Gaggenau, but also the precision and culinary expertise of the company’s luxury products,” says Lambesis creative director Chad Farmer.
To transport guests back to the origins of the brand, the design team created a mini Black Forest in the city, within the restaurant’s main, 48-seat dining room. “The Black Forest is not only a landscape, it is a mystery to be explored,” says Müller.
An oversized cuckoo clock at the entrance let passersby know something unique was taking place inside.
To immerse visitors in that journey, set designer Beckman (who’s best known for creating runway shows for such brands as Coach and Alexander Wang during New York Fashion Week) brought in fresh-cut pine trees and live ferns, then added mirrors, mist machines and a series of spotlights to add dimension and depth to the space.
Other Black Forest references within the restaurant included an oversized historic cuckoo clock at its entrance, where guests were greeted by models dressed in the so-called “Bollenhut,” a traditional costume of the Gaggenau region, and a working blacksmith’s forge in the bar area, reflecting the company’s founding as a nail forge.
In addition to those historical markers, Gaggenau’s current appliances were an integral part of the dining experience, mainly in the form of custom-built, tableside chef stations designed by Humm. Those installations were equipped with the brand’s single oven, steam oven, warming drawers and modular cooking surface.
Gaggenau plans similar events in other U.S. cities over the next three years, but in keeping with the mystery associated with its Black Forest origins, declined to provide specifics. Those will be revealed in coming months at a special Restaurant 1683 microsite that’s been created on the company’s website.
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