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How Tom Dixon Designed The World’s “Most Exclusive” Speakeasy

Himitsu channels ’70s opulence—with a twist.

With its moody lighting, gilded copper bar, suede chairs, leather banquette, and Baccarat Crystal stemware, Himitsu seems like it was plucked from the 1970s. In other ways, though, it is very much of the 21st century: to snag a reservation for the 60-seat bar and lounge, you email for a passcode. Then you gain entry courtesy of an iris scanner. Details calls it the “world’s most exclusive cocktail lounge.”

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Himitsu is the brainchild of entrepreneur Farshid Arshid, who wanted to create is a “civilized” experience that does away with the annoyances of destination cocktail bars. To design the space, he tapped Design Research Studio—the interior design and architecture studio of famed British designer (and occasional rock star) Tom Dixon.

Design Research Studio riffed on a Todd Murphy artwork called King of Birds, which hangs opposite of the bar. The floors, walls, and ceiling, are clad with black-stained wood and the furniture and lighting are mostly Dixon’s own designs. Patrons sidle up to the bar—which is stocked with $200,000 worth of Saint Louis and Baccarat Crystal—on Pivot stools. A chandelier composed of Melt pendants hangs over the downstairs seating area, which is outfitted with Scoop chairs and brass-and-marble tables. The mezzanine offers more privacy and overlooks the double-height interior.

“We’re not a nightclub where people line up outside and are constantly walking in and out,” Arshid tells Details. “I don’t want the curiosity guy who just heard about us and wants to look around and walk out. I don’t want the frat bros who are just looking for a club to get drunk in. We are a craft cocktail lounge that is uber luxury, through and through.”

Though gaining entree into the space—Design Research Studio’s first hospitality project in the United States—seems damn near impossible, you can ogle a few snapshots in the slide show above.

About the author

Diana Budds is a New York–based writer covering design and the built environment.

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