Our primary inspiration is that of a Madame Adventurist; a woman whose untethered spirit and travels throughout Asia have created a wealth of art and curious artifacts. Her home, a lush and eclectic villa filled with her treasures, forms the spirit of the overall space of the Limelight site for Jue Lan Club.
The Jue Lan Club:
The namesake of the project is drawn from a group of revolutionary Chinese artists who united in 1932. The Jue Lan Club, as they called themselves, met numerous times in attempts to break Chinese art out of its traditional hold. Their declaration, as seen above, expressed their love of vibrancy in art and life. We use this ethos as a philosophy for the project’s character. Each room of the restaurant has its own unique vibe, color and aesthetic.
1930’s Glam and 1980’s Grit:
In the 1980s, the historic church rectory was transformed into the Limelight Nightclub and became the center of nightlife in Manhattan. Artists like Andy Warhol and HR Giger and other personalities like Peter Gatien added to the excitement of the venue. We used these colorful figures as direct inspiration for within the spaces. In collaboration with Gruin Gallery, Dutch East has placed many historic works of art throughout the space. The rotating “gallery” will enrich the space and attribute homage the many iconic artists that have made their mark within the space.
DESIGN NARRATIVE per SPACE:
Our inspiration for the stunning courtyard was that of the Madame Adventurist’s secret garden; slightly mysterious and hidden from the world. We envisioned a magical outdoor space with subtle hints of Asian influence, boasting twinkling lights, comfortable seating and beautiful flowers along with some unexpected moments.
The main bar lounge reflects one of the more refined spaces within the restaurant. Custom banquettes and a large, glowing blown glass chandelier are all custom-made by local fabricators. The shape of the chandelier’s hand blown glass is directly inspired by the shape of traditional Ming vases. The finish palette is comprised of navy blue and coral paired with charcoal wood. Keith Haring prints flank either side of custom back bar shelving. Haring was a frequent patron of the Limelight in its heyday. On the opposing brick wall, Asian bust sculptures showcase examples of our Madam’s “collected art”.
Affectionately known as the Emerald Room, this jewel of the restaurant is a luxurious dining area. The ceiling is inspired by a Chinese courtyard and by the aesthetic of traditional weaving techniques, common in Miao Chinese villages. The Jue Lan Club artist were especially fond of painting scenes of these hamlets. The drop down ceiling responds to a custom metal frame that lines the perimeter and offers an intimate framing per booth seating. The space is bound on two sides with Hollywood booths upholstered in emerald velvet on the interior and black leather vinyl on the exterior. A large, dramatic wallpaper mural represents further attempts to bring the feeling of the garden into the customer’s experience. Custom pendant lights fabricated in Brooklyn create a signature glow throughout the room. A nod to the 80’s rock star can be seen in the art, which represents photos of closets belonging to legends like Debbi Harry.
This second floor dining salon is often referred to as the artist studio and Warhol Room. This is because Dutch East was inspired heavily by Andy Warhol and his essence as an artist. Photos taken of his belongings and stretched canvas panels line the original brick walls. Rich gold velvet upholstery and custom Chinese lantern pendant lights make for a uniquely lush aesthetic. The custom bar is inspired by ancient Chinese apothecaries and will be styled to showcase some traditional Chinese pottery. The salon can be closed off with metal framed, floral textured glass doors.
This private dining room represents the most decorative space in the restaurant, as we attempted to create a Chinoiserie in the Madame’s estate. Vibrant Ming Blue wall paneling clads every wall surface apart from the full height Verlaine green marble fireplace surround. Traditional hand-carved Chinese dining chairs will be stained a deep teal color. An extraordinary customized brass chandelier will be the focal point of the room, and small quirky art objects will fill every last nook. The 1932 bathroom is directly inspired by the studio of the Jue Lan artist; complete with an art installation featuring Chinese paint brushes suspended in the ceiling.