CAFÉ AT THE
MUSEUM OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK

Playful yet respectful insertion into the museum’s public spaces changes the dynamic.

Cooper Joseph Studio has been working with MCNY for a number of years designing exhibition installations. Due to this ongoing, fruitful relationship, we were asked to make an intervention into the museum’s core public spaces. With a limited budget, and a very specific series of requirements, we chose to design and locally build the furniture and concession stand.

The overall tone of the cafe is one of simple elegance; yet, the use of playful chairs and clever black and white graphics enlivens the experience. The light sculpture that CJS designed in the stairwell works with the cafe to transform an institutional space into a memorable one. CJS worked closely with Great Performance, the vendor to assure that all the food preparation needs could be accommodated in a cleanly designed display counter.

Now, the café has become a busy place for staff to enjoy casual conversation, and visitors to the museum can relax between exhibition, but particularly rewarding is that others in the neighborhood have made this a destination.

The museum is in the midst of a larger renovation program, so this café is meant to be economical, as it will be replaced in 2015.