“People don’t go to restaurants to eat,” says New York– based designer Adam Tihany. “They go because they want an experience, to live in another world for two hours, to travel to Japan without leaving Scottsdale.” In the case of the restaurant Veranda, on the upper floor of the new Harvey Nichols store in Kuwait’s The Avenues mall, Tihany provides patrons with tranquility and serenity to contrast the teeming shopping center below. To cordon off the space from the shops downstairs, he placed reflective stainless steel around the staircase leading up to the 10,000-square-foot restaurant. Once inside, guests walk beneath a white ceiling made of undulating concrete, passing trees and herbs in planters throughout the space before sitting in low, plush chairs. This narrative experience of space is key to the Joule Hotel in Dallas, too. The designer has done the interiors of a new Joule expansion, which includes four neighboring buildings. Since the city is closely associated with oil, the hotel, originally in a historic neo-Gothic building downtown, features a drilling related “Journey to the Center of the World” theme. By structuring his design around a metaphorical interpretation of oil, Tihany created what he classifies as a “contemporary oil barrack,” with dark colors—a cumulative aesthetic that is whimsical, macho, and retro all at once. Tihany has worked with restaurateurs Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Daniel Boulud, and Thomas Keller, and has spearheaded the ongoing restoration of the Beverly Hills Hotel. Each project has its own feel, but all fulfill the fundamental aspects of hospitality. Tihany’s biggest pet peeve: “I just hate uncomfortable chairs,” he says.
By Julia Cooke