The black-leather-clad architect and art collector Peter Marino is known for his glamorous interiors and buildings for such luxury retail clients as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Hublot. He has also designed houses for the ultra-rich, as well as striking bronze furniture, and a collection of glass for Venini. But the Lobster Club may be among his highest-profile recent projects. The new Japanese-seafood-themed eatery occupies the space of the former Brasserie, the casual (but no less chic) downstairs sibling of the legendary Four Seasons restaurant designed by Philip Johnson and interior designer William Pahlmann in Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Seagram Building. The latter moved out of its landmarked space in 2016 and has been replaced by two restaurants, the Grill and the Pool, which, along with the Lobster Club, are operated by the Major Food Group.

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The Brasserie opened in 1959 and was located on the building’s ground floor beneath the Four Seasons, with an entrance on East 53rd Street. It too was designed by Johnson and Pahlmann. Open 24-7, it was, in its heyday, a late-night watering hole for New York’s glitterati. After a fire closed the restaurant in 1995, it reopened in 1999 with a new, futuristic design by Diller Scofidio + Renfro; that version closed in 2015. Enter Marino, brought in by Aby Rosen of RFR Holding, the building’s owner, and Major Food Group. The architect was charged with giving the space a complete makeover, and he did not disappoint, designing an interior that is substantial and elegant, with subtle references to the Four Seasons and the first Brasserie. Yet it is entirely contemporary. (The Lobster Club won’t be open 24-7, but will offer breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late-night drinks.)

The layout of the restaurant’s main room, with an onyx-and-bronze bar along the east wall near the entrance, is closer to that of the original Brasserie than to its second iteration. Marino liked the earlier version’s hybrid counter seating/lounge/table–service approach. His design echoes the “square within a square” of the pool designed for the Four Seasons in the plan of the Lobster Club’s lounge, which has colorful upholstered furniture and a precast-concrete tile floor, painted by the artist Laura Bergen with a Jackson Pollock–inspired pattern. The bronze dividers that flank three booths on the room’s south wall are inspired by the Seagram Building’s facade. Marino—who studied painting and sculpture at Cornell before turning to architecture—also offers riffs on Picasso in the sheet-metal sculptures that stand atop the banquettes in the adjoining Red Room dining area. Picasso and Pollock are not only idols of the architect, but both artists’ work once adorned the Four Seasons. Ceramic plates by Picasso, part of Rosen’s personal collection, hang above the new bar, echoing the plates by the artist that hung above the banquettes in the original Brasserie’s counter area.

The material palette—including oiled bronze, terrazzo, and white ebony (a nod to the Four Seasons’ French walnut paneling)—is meant to evoke the Seagram aesthetic. Even the black-leather draperies that line the main room’s west wall—and can be extended to create a private dining area—have a Modernist pedigree. Marino points out that Mies van der Rohe and collaborator Lily Reich used curtains in a 1927 café, although he notes that the choice of black leather refers to “my fun, cutting-edge, biker side.”

Marino’s design gives the the Lobster Club a luxe golden glow, but its sumptuous finishes and details don’t weigh down its quirky, modern vibe. It’s also something of a self-portrait of the architect, and not just because of the black leather; he even drew the lobster that’s painted on dinner plates. “I like doing the whole nine yards,” he says. “It’s where I always wanted to be.”



Peter Marino Architect, 150 E. 58TH Street, New York, NY 10022, +1.212.752.5444,


Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:

Peter Marino, Trent Davies, Osamu Mochizuki, Jennifer Fitzgerald, Carly Silver, Paola Pretto, Trish Fleming, James Sweeney, Mary MacArthur Chandeysson, Lorenzo Ottaviani


Architect of record:

Peter Marino Architect, 150 E. 58TH Street, New York, NY 10022, +1.212.752.5444,


Interior designer:

Peter Marino Architect



Mechanical/Electrical/Plumbing: MG Engineering D.P.C.

Structural: Severud Associates

Structural: Gilsanz Murray Steficek



Lighting: L’Observatoire International


General contractor:

TriStar Construction



Manolo Yllera


Interior Finishes

Acoustical ceilings:

Pyrok Vogl and StarSilent systems

Precast concrete floor tiles:

Get Real Surfaces



Dimming system and lighting controls: