What Happens When, the world’s first restaurant to treat design like speed dating, has unveiled its newest look: a bright salute to spring that turns the walls of this très-urban NYC dining establishment into an abstract, enchanted forest.
Some background on the concept here, for those of you who missed our coverage last month: What Happens When is a temporary restaurant in Soho that changes its interior (and menu and soundtrack) once a month for nine months based on a loose theme. The first theme was a Nordic winter; the second, Valentine’s Day, with a terribly romantic flower-like ceiling installation made of just $143 of fabric. (See photos at the end of the slideshow above.)
“Pine needles” spill from the ceiling like a pick-up sticks.
The latest theme takes its cues from the Great Outdoors in those blissful early days of spring and was inspired by a recommendation from a fan, Becky Fitzhugh, who donated to the restaurant’s Kickstarter campaign. (Yes, it has a Kickstarter campaign. Decorating a restaurant once a month ain’t cheap!)
So the space has oversized “pine needles” that spill from the ceiling like pick-up sticks; in some areas, they stretch to the floor, creating tangled little room dividers. Bird houses nestle in the pine needles, and two swings feature Thoreauvian scenes of (fake) birds communing with nature. Animal tracks creep along the floor and, in some places, onto your dinner table. What Happens When describes the aesthetic as “a combination of ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ and a cabinet of curiosities.” We couldn’t have said it any better.
Stay tuned for more updates on Co. as the designers, The Metrics, continue this whimsical exercise in restaurant reinvention.
[Images by Felix de Voss]SL