Modernist Treasures From Iconic Four Seasons Restaurant Headed for Auction

Posted On Wed, June 15, 2016 By

Posted On Wed, June 15, 2016 By In Midtown East, Restaurants, Starchitecture

The Four Seasons: Photo via Le Travelist

News of the iconic restaurant’s impending demise surfaced last summer, as 6sqft previously reported, when Seagram Building owner Aby Rosen did not renew the lease for what has been seen as the quintessential Midtown “power lunch” spot for the last decades of the 20th century since it opened in 1959. The restaurant’s interiors feature designs by Pritzker Prize-winner Philip Johnson, furniture, tableware and other items by Seagram Building designer Mies Van der Rohe, Hans J. Wegner and others and custom-made Knoll furniture.

Those items will be included in the 500 lots headed for auction on July 26. Dezeen highlights critics’ frustration at what Aaron Betsky, leading US architecture critic and dean of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture rues as the dispersal of  “one of the rarest phenomena in Modernism: a place where the architecture, the furniture, the table settings, the service, the food, and even the clientele was of a piece.”

Four Seasons renovation, Annabelle Selldorf, Seagram Building, NYC interior landarks
Rendering of the proposed renovation presented to the LPC, via Selldorf Architects

Developer Rosen of RFR had circulated redesign plans for the Midtown dining establishment, created by starchitect Annabelle Selldorf. The plans were roundly rejected by the restaurant’s owners, preservationists and many in the architecture community including Robert A.M. Stern, who called the changes “ill-advised” for “one of the great rooms in New York, and one of the few great modernist rooms.” The rooms’ interiors are landmarked, and though the Landmarks Preservation Commission roundly rejected the update plans, the restaurant itself, whose lease is not tied to the building, will be relocating. Though restaurant owners Alex von Bidder and Julian Niccolini will be selling the furniture, tableware and other items custom-designed for the restaurant, fixtures and fittings like the iconic bar and wall panelling will remain as per LPC dictates.

Four Seasons restaurant, Philip Johnson, Seagram Building

Auction house Wright will hold the sale on July 26, 2016 at the restaurant located in the Seagram Building at 375 Park Avenue. In addition to those mentioned above, items on offer will include rare tableware and cookware by American industrial designer L Garth Huxtable and his partner, architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable, chairs and tables from Philip Johnson and bronze Tulip tables by Eero Saarinen.

Four Seasons restaurant, Philip Johnson, Seagram Building

As for the space itself, of-the-moment restaurateurs Mario Carbone, Rich Torrisi, and Jeff Zalaznick (of the Major Food Group and trendy restaurants like Parm and Dirty French) have signed on to take over and partner with Rosen, who will increase the rent to $3 million a year. Since the space is landmarked, many of the original design and architectural elements will have to remain, though they will, of course, be part of the new restaurant.

Richard Lippold, Four Seasons restaurant, Seagram Building
Image: Absolute Travel

seagram building
The Seagram Building

Architect Phyllis Lambert, whose father, Joseph E. Seagram & Sons founder Samuel Bronfman hired van der Rohe and Johnson to design the building, wrote an open letter to Rosen imploring him to keep the interiors intact “to maintain the authenticity of two of the world’s greatest rooms.” Architecture critic and passionate modernist Alexandra Lange calls the piecemeal preservation, “interior facadism, and a perversion of the idea of a landmark interior.” “The Four Seasons was part of a whole range of iconic architect-designed restaurants of the 1960s and 1970s that have now disappeared,” Lange told Dezeen, including Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen’s 1966 Ground Floor restaurant in the CBS Building–designed to compete with the Four Seasons–which was taken over by China Grill in 1987.

[Via Dezeen]

RELATED:

Tags : , , ,

Neighborhoods : Midtown East

MOST RECENT ARTICLES

  • Philip Johnson’s Rockefeller Guest House, a ‘secret’ modernist gem on Manhattan’s east side

    Philip Johnson’s Rockefeller Guest House, a ‘secret’ modernist gem on Manhattan’s east side

    Just down the street from the now-closed modernist treasure trove and icon that was the Four Seasons in Manhattan’s east ...
  • Bioswales face backlash from city residents for being eyesores

    Bioswales face backlash from city residents for being eyesores

    While you may have never heard of the term “bioswale,” you have probably seen these curbside gardens throughout the city. ...
  • David Bowie’s former Central Park South condo lists for $6.5M with his personal piano included

    David Bowie’s former Central Park South condo lists for $6.5M with his personal piano included

    Sure, a piano is always a nice touch, especially in a classic Central Park South condo like this. But when ...
  • How elevators are adapting to supertall towers; Get Shake Shack delivered

    How elevators are adapting to supertall towers; Get Shake Shack delivered

    17th century Barberini tapestries now on view at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. [Untapped] Baseball commentator and former ...
  • Former Citicorp Center might lose Sasaki fountain as part of plaza redesign

    Former Citicorp Center might lose Sasaki fountain as part of plaza redesign

    Earlier this month, 6sqft revealed renderings of 601 Lexington Avenue‘s (the Midtown East skyscraper formerly known as the Citicorp Center) new ...
  • Art Nerd New York’s top event picks for the week – 3/23-3/29

    Art Nerd New York’s top event picks for the week – 3/23-3/29

    In a city where hundreds of interesting events occur each week, it can be hard to pick and choose your ...
  • Iconic ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov buys Harlem condo for $1.4 million

    Iconic ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov buys Harlem condo for $1.4 million

    Mikhail Baryshnikov, who fled the Soviet Union in 1974 and landed in Canada is today considered one of the greatest ballet dancers ...
  • Starting Monday, three Brooklyn R train stations will shut down for six months

    Starting Monday, three Brooklyn R train stations will shut down for six months

    Last January, Governor Cuomo announced a massive undertaking to “modernize and fundamentally transform” the MTA and the subway by adding ...
  • Greta Garbo’s exclusive East Side co-op hits the market for the first time in 64 years, asking $6M

    Greta Garbo’s exclusive East Side co-op hits the market for the first time in 64 years, asking $6M

    For the first time in decades, an apartment in The Campanile, an exclusive co-op building in the Beekman/Sutton Place neighborhood, ...
  • The least affordable U.S. city for public transit isn’t NYC (and more fun facts about the cost of commuting)

    The least affordable U.S. city for public transit isn’t NYC (and more fun facts about the cost of commuting)

    In light of NYC’s recent subway fare hike that bumped the price of a monthly pass to $121, the data jocks ...
  • For $675K this tiny West Village studio is big on rustic loft style

    For $675K this tiny West Village studio is big on rustic loft style

    This completely renovated loft-style studio co-op at 9 Barrow Street may be tiny with little more than 300 square feet of ...
  • Dreamy furnished studio with lots of greenery asks $3,200/month in the East Village

    Dreamy furnished studio with lots of greenery asks $3,200/month in the East Village

    This furnished rental at 527 East 12th Street in the East Village is downright dreamy. The exposed brick has been painted white ...

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTERS

Thank you, your sign-up request was successful!
This email address is already subscribed, thank you!
Please provide a valid email address.
Please complete the CAPTCHA.
Oops. Something went wrong. Please try again later.