January 22, 2020

Lumaca by Asfour Guzy Architects Blends Historic Glamour with Modern Flair

The Asfour Guzy Architects-designed dining room of Lumaca in New York City. Photography by Sasha Maslov.

New York architect Peter Guzy is accustomed to fine dining. The co-founder of Asfour Guzy Architects has been crafting upscale eateries throughout the city since the firm’s beginnings in 1988, and recently unveiled interiors for Lumaca, the latest from celebrity chef John DeLucie. 

The restaurant’s name derives from the Italian word for snail, since DeLucie believes that food should be savored and never rusheda prospect that could not be more inviting in the sumptuously appointed Italian eatery. Evoking distinct midcentury modern flair, it occupies the back room of midtown Manhattan’s HGU Hotel, an otherwise Beaux-Arts-stye gem dating back to 1903.

Glassware is by Chef & Sommelier, and seating is upholstered in leather; solid wood tables, meanwhile, forego tablecloths. Photography by Sasha Maslov.

The design didn’t require a complete renovation; in fact, Guzy opted to maintain or restore original elements that already leant themselves to the restaurant’s identity, such as the room’s historic plasterwork and stately columns. They now mingle elegantly with contemporary touches: a titanium granite bar glistens beneath a Regina Andrew-designed Molten Spider pendant fixture, dramatic circular banquettes flaunt green velvet upholstery, and Southern Italian cuisine is presented on weighty Anfora stoneware. Pared-back design choices like dark wood tabletops offer simplicity and balance, while authentic midcentury sputnik-style chandeliers cast a glow over it all.

DeLucie himself puts it best: “Lumaca is modern, but rooted in early-19th-century glamour and sophistication,” he says. “Much like the ancient cuisine of Puglia, it is updated slightly for a modern palate.”

The photography adorning the eatery’s walls is by Anton Perich, an American photographer and filmmaker, and comes from the private collection of HGU Hotel owner Michael Namer, who also owns Gallery 151 in Chelsea. Photography by Sasha Maslov.
The structural columns and intricate Beaux-Arts plasterwork are both original to the building, which dates back to 1903. Photography by Sasha Maslov.
Regina Andrew‘s Molten Spider pendant fixture illuminates the bar with artisanal hand-blown glass shades and a brass metallic finish. Photography by Sasha Maslov.

Read more: BBR by Alain Ducasse, Raffles Singapore by Jouin Manku: 2019 Best of Year Winner for Hotel Dining

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