An expertly cooked truffled egg, dome-shaped and strategically positioned atop a composed salad, is just one of the sensory pleasures awaiting patrons of The Wright, an urbane dining destination recently installed at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum on New York City’s Fifth Avenue. Aptly named for Frank Lloyd Wright, the iconic 1959 building’s noted (if not notorious) architect, the restaurant—a business collaboration of the Guggenheim Foundation and Restaurant Associates—opened in December 2009 as the culmination of the museum’s 50th-anniversary celebration.

Designed with an intelligent sleight of hand by the New York—based firm of Andre Kikoski Architect, the 1,600-square-foot, 58-seat eatery, which is adjacent to the museum’s soaring rotunda, replaces a drab coffee shop that had been in operation for years. Unlike the previous establishment, the new interior is evocative of its architectural pedigree. It is not, however, overwhelmed by it.

“We wanted the restaurant to be consistent with Wright’s philosophy,” says Kikoski, the firm’s principal. So he and his design team took their cues from the master’s geometry and materiality, carefully calculating the room’s shapes and proportions based on the motifs and dynamic forms Wright used throughout the building. Ergo, a crisply stretched vinyl-membrane ceiling canopy swooping through the center of the room echoes the spirals that circle the museum’s rotunda, as does the trapunto of the softly padded leather seating, and the uplit tiered wall covered in a sound-absorbing, meshlike textile that curves above the long banquette. Sleek solid-surface table- and bar tops reference the dynamic planes of the museum’s interior, and custom-pounded stainless-steel bases—supporting the central communal table—adhere to the geometry of a hieroglyphlike eye used by Wright as a decorative motif. With a nod toward his predecessor’s gesamtkunstwerk approach to architecture, Kikoski’s strategy also included designing all of the furnishings, and using such cutting-edge materials as the panels of alternating walnut-veneer and fiber-optic strips fitted with backlit glass shelves that surface the wall behind the bar.

Further emphasizing The Wright’s connection to the museum, the restaurant’s architects maintained a similar white color palette to provide a gallerylike setting for the variable hues of Chef Rodolfo Contreras’s seasonal cuisine. Likewise, this scheme serves as a neutral canvas for a work by Liam Gillick—an 11th-hour addition to the program. Inspired by a Robert Irwin kind of scrim Kikoski originally proposed, the Guggenheim commissioned the British-born artist, known for his thoughtful structural compositions, to collaborate with the architect and create a site-specific installation that would become part of its permanent collection.

Working closely with Kikoski (a friend and neighbor), Gillick devised a sculptural relief for the restaurant that continually alters the spatial experience for diners, just as Wright’s museum changes the perception of art for those navigating its ramps and recesses. “I pushed for what I thought would be important,” says Kikoski, describing the process. “At the same time, he told me to trust him—until finally we arrived at something we both felt was viscerally correct.”

Gillick’s ultimate solution, which he dubbed “The horizon produced by a factory once it had stopped producing views,” comprises a variegated series of parallel aluminum planks, or bars, powder-coated in rich, warm colors. Due to the staggered placement of the bars, the skin appears transparent as it screens the glass entry wall and wraps the room’s south and east elevations, hovering over the deep blue banquette. The symbiotic result, says Kikoski, “like the building, completes the architecture as much as the architecture complements the art.”

It takes a certain professional daring to intervene in one of the most significant buildings of the 20th century. Indeed, Wright once wrote, regarding the integrity of his design, “No details (not even the smallest) can be interjected or interfered with without marring the peace and quiet of the whole concept, execution and purpose.” Yet this elegant space that bears his name feels of a piece with his oeuvre, almost as if it had been there all along.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
1071 Fifth Ave
New York, NY 10128
Tel.: 212-423-3500

Size: 1,600 sq. ft.

Completion Date: December 2009



Andre Kikoski Architect, PLLC
180 Varick St., Suite 1316
New York, NY 10014
Tel.: 212-627-0240

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

Andre Kikoski, AIA, LEED AP - Principal
Brian Lewis LEED AP - Senior Associate
Gunnar Jung, LEED AP - Project Manager
Adam Darter, LEED AP - Associate
Liam Harris, LEED AP - Associate
Claire Foy
Laurie Karsten


Lighting design:

Tillotson Design Associates
40 Worth St.
Suite 1680
New York, NY 10013
Tel.: 212-675-7760
Mark Kubicki: Principal-in-charge
Suzan Tillotson: Principal



HHF Design Consulting, Ltd.
1751 Second Avenue, Suite 201
New York, NY 10128
Tel.: 212-876-5341


General contractor:

James G. Kennedy & Co., Inc.
215 E. 38th Street
New York, NY 10016
Tel.: 212-599-5800


Millwork – Communal Table, Front and Back Bar, Hostess Stand:

Custom Design by:
Andre Kikoski Architect

Manufactured by:
Petersen, Geller, Spurge
535 Eighth Ave 20 N
New York, NY 10018
Tel.: 212-244-6610


Metalwork – Bar Side Wall, Bar-Front, Communal Table Legs:

Custom Design by:
Andre Kikoski Architect

Manufactured by:
Amuneal Manufacturing Corp.
4737 Darrah Street
Philadelphia, PA 19124
Tel.: 215-535-3000

Ceiling canopy:

Custom Design by:
Andre Kikoski Architect

Manufactured by:
Newmat USA Ltd.
81 Mahan Street
W Babylon, NY 11704
Tel.: 631-261-1498



Furniture – Custom Chairs, Stools, Tables, Banquette

Custom Design by:
Andre Kikoski Architect

Manufactured by:
John Celli Custom Furniture & Design Corp.
1201 Broadway Suite 810
New York, NY  10001


Custom Color by:
Andre Kikoski Architect

Produced by:
425 CrossPoint Parkway, Ste 100
Getzville, NY 14068


Banquette Fabric

Astor Fabric by:

Création Baumann
Weberei und Färberei AG
Bern-Zürich-Strasse 23
CH-4900 Langenthal
Tel. +41-62-919-6262



Custom Pounded Stainless Steel by:

Amuneal Manufacturing Corp.
4737 Darrah Street
Philadelphia, PA 19124
Tel.: 215-535-3000


Table and Counter Tops

DuPont Corian


Wood - Bar Wall

Luminoso in Walnut by:

Litwork GmbH
Gütlestraße 7a
6850 Dornbirn
Tel. +43-5572-372960

North American Distributer:
Company B Inc.
255 Spinnaker Way, Unit 2
Concord, ON
Tel: 905-760-9987


Glass – Bar Shelves

Low-Iron Tempered Star-Fire Glass

Carvart Architectural Glass
180 Varick St., Suite 1218
New York, NY 10014


Ceiling Canopy

Vinyl Membrane – Matte Blanc by:

Newmat USA Ltd.
81 Mahan Street
W Babylon, NY 11704
Tel.: 631-261-1498



Sika Epoxy
Custom Color – by Andre Kikoski Architect

Sika Corporation
201 Polito Ave
Lyndhurst, NJ 07071
Tel.: 800-933-7452


Lighting Manufacturer

Canopy Tier Lighting

CV Lighting – Minicove

Banquette Ambient Lighting

CV Lighting – Minicove

Ceiling Downlights

Tech Lighting – Element

Canopy Downlights

Nulux - Microlux

LED - Bar Wall Lighting

Edge Lighting