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What Happens When

What Happens When is a temporary restaurant installation that transforms every 30 days. It will live for 9 months in a reclaimed space in New York City and will change focus every month in order to explore what a dining experience can be and how we can play with the traditional expectations of dining out.

The project is a creative collaboration between chef John Fraser, Brand/graphic designer Emilie Baltz and Metrics principal Elle Kunnos de Voss.

Working on a shoestring budget we wanted to create a space that had an immediate impact, communicated the concept of change and was feasible within the limited time frame we were given. Our overall concept for the space is a 'work in progress' transparency into the design process as the architectural drawings are mapped out onto the dining room surfaces in 1:1, with each Movement change red lined to manifest the process and record the transformations.

We started off with the premise that we were in fact designing 9 different restaurants and that each of these restaurants would have itís own integrity and experience.

For each new 30 day Movement theme we will design; a new lighting scheme and fixtures, unique spatial elements to create variations of visual compositions like perspective, scale and form and a new color scheme. To keep the space flexible for the changing light and spatial installations we have designed a grid of hooks for the ceiling.


Transparency into the design process as the architectural drawings are mapped out onto the dining room surfaces in 1:1, with each change red lined to manifest the process and record the transformations.


A new restaurant each month, where the room is transformed with the bare design essentials, screens, lines, volumes, lighting.


Time. 9 months, each one itís own experience and then itís over.

The spatial concept for the First Movement is a monochromatic landscape of deconstructed volumes and fixtures, using a paired down aesthetic. White lines define volumes within the space, describing archetypal house and ladder shapes in a distorted perspective.

The deconstructed chandeliers take their cue from a classic chandelier with cut cardboard prisms and large globe light bulbs.

Sound: Composer Micah Silver

We wanted to create a romantic setting whilst avoiding heart shaped clichees. The fabric installation lowered the ceiling by 18" and made the space more intimate with one big stroke of hot pink fading into deep purple. The fabric was cut in triangles and hung from the grid of hooks. The total cost for the installation was $143.


The interior design concept for Movement 2 is a play with scale. The space is defined by an installation of over-sized pine needles that create a movement across the ceiling. Stretching to the floor in some areas the pine needles act as room dividers.

Throughout the space little moments unveil the fantastical forest theme such as two moss-laden swings with miniature landscapes of plants and birds, bird houses nestled in the pine needles and various animal tracks on the floor, walls and selected tables.

The over table pendants are made from a sheet of stationary held together with a single staple. The stationary, screen printed bird motif on vintage typing paper, is designed by Adrienne Wong. The counter area light fixtures are made with live moss and small bulbs.

Sound: Joshua Benyard / Geek Squad
Bathroom artwork: Eric Beare
Animal tracks: Daniel Colon
Pendant stationary paper designed and donated by: Graphic Designer Adrienne Wong


The theme for Movement 3 was a Spring Garden Party inspired by Renoir's "The Luncheon of the Boating Party".
We designed the space around a few significant elements and coloring from the Renoir painting to re-create an intimate, communal experience reminiscent of 19th century time and place. A 8 meter long awning-like architectural stroke across the room frames the dining settings in warm spring like tones to re-create the communal intimate feeling of the painting.

The ceiling is lit with a string of large bulbs, that are thinly coated in pink and yellow, in a 'garden party' inspired configuration. Throughout the space branch-like light fixtures light up the tables outside the awning shape to create a play between interior and exterior The wall fixtures are designed to look like iconic Still lifes with white coated crystal glasses and fake grapes.

Sound: Ball of Fire Shoot Flame


Inspired by Jazz, the 4th transformation explores the tension between improvisation and tradition, as well as the unique rhythm and architecture that defines this musical form. A non-traditional take on jazz, this Movement Elle Kunnos de Voss uses 9100ft of string to create different volumes throughout the space. This spatial rhythm throughout the room results in a visual cadence from the entrance all the way to the back that visually and spatially communicates the rhythm and contrast of Jazz. Amber tones of string hearken back to southern sunlight and remind guests of the birthplace of this unique American form of music.

The entryway welcomes guests with a taste of whatís to come with a collage of patterns and imagery that mix old photographs from New Orleans with abstract patterns that visually represent the tempo of jazz. Adding another ďnoteĒ of reference, all the light fixtures are inspired by jazz line up instruments. Made from basic geometric shapes in bright colors, they are configured around the room at different heights.

Sound: Ball of Fire Shoot Flame


For this 5th transformation the interior takes its inspiration from Silk Road. We collected patterns from regions spanning from Turkey to China to create a maze of screens made from 30x30cm large cardboard panels. The panels have laser cut patterns collected from various regions of the Silk Road; Turkey, Babylon, Syria, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and two different regions of China.

The panels are hanging from the ceiling hooks in formations from the entry going east, starting with patterns from Turkey stretching all the way through the space ending in the two different China patterns. Throughout the panels act as room dividers and are hung around light fixtures creating a play of light and shadow. The panels are spray painted in colors ranging from sand and light blues, through turquoise to the deep red of China.

Sound: Ball of Fire Shoot Flame