Lalique teams up with upscale French eatery Daniel in New York City
Just ahead of celebrating 30 years since the opening of Daniel (and 24 years since finding its home on East 65th), chef Daniel Boulud has partnered with Lalique on a new bar bedecked in the fine French crystal. The French-born chef noted that while the restaurant gets a refurbish every decade or so, the pandemic helped develop the bar's redo into a much more significant undertaking.
"We originally planned to update the restaurant in 2020, but then Covid happened. The design involved moving the 'bibliotheque' with some Lalique pieces in it to make way for a piece of art," said Boulud.
The pandemic allowed more time to consider what they could do together.
"Lalique has hospitality design in Alain Passard's three-star restaurant in Paris, Arpège. I always loved the elegance and charm of how they incorporated crystal into the wood paneling and stone," Boulud noted in a Zoom interview.
He worked closely alongside Silvio Denz, chairman and CEO of the Lalique Group, and James Mun, president, and CEO of Lalique North America proposing the bar at Daniel to become a de facto U.S. showroom.
Guests entering the Art Deco-style bar can step up into the lounge, also outfitted in the 1930s décor. Deep red leather chairs, lacquer tables, and black leather couches sit in front of three arched mirrors bedecked with frosted crystal inset circles. On the bar, crystal is treated like wood-paneling in the front of the bar. Tubular-shaped pendant lighting fixtures hang above the bar and throughout the entry and lounge. Scones and even door handles get the crystal touch.
"They went beyond my dreams with the application on the mirrors and glass in front of the bar that carries on to the upper lounge. It has woven lines with a bit of gold inside. It's unassuming, not flashy," said Boulud of Adam D. Tihany, who designed the restaurant and bar with Lalique's Paris-based in-house designers.
Four vitrines throughout depict 'The Three F's' according to Lalique which is 'femme', 'flora', and 'fauna' and a place for Lalique to work in their theatrical designs. They are filled with floral designer Oscar Mora's elaborate arrangements. As Boulud puts it, "Lalique stands for being prestigious, the finest, craft, taste, elegant and design."
A bit like the chef's food as well. The effect of the crystal is both timeless and progressive.
"The crystal is exclusive but its approachable. Crystal can last a lifetime if you take care of it. It's not so modern that you get bored with the design but not so classic that it doesn't feel contemporary; it's contemporary with a ton of history."
Boulud, who has his own collection of Lalique crystal, was inspired by the French crystal maker from Wingen-sur-Moder's hospitality sites.
"They have different hotels and restaurants in Alsace and the region of Bordeaux they have collaborated with. I was very proud to have a French brand represented in my restaurant," said the chef.
Indeed, since Denz has led Lalique, the crystal brand has increasingly become a presence in upscale hospitality.
"Lalique has many custom restaurant installations worldwide, dating back to the 1920s. In 2015, I established the hospitality pillar, which has been a new business area for Lalique ever since and was born out of the passion for combining savoir-faire and savoir-vivre – the art of living," said Denz.
Properties include Villa René Lalique in Wingen-Sur-Moder, Château Hochberg in Alsace, and Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey in Sauternes. Its newest venture was unveiled last year at The Glenturret, Scotland's oldest working distillery, where the philosophies of both Lalique and The Glenturret are reflected in the newly outfitted spaces.
While Lalique is currently the exclusive French design brand partnership, the New York-based chef has some ideas about more brands from his homeland in the restaurant.
"Of course, there is a French beverage partner with Champagne, and I would like to work with a French brand to redo the Sky Box aka Chef's Table in Daniel," he admits. The chef was also recently busy with Le Gratin's opening at the Beekman Hotel in downtown New York, which opened in May.
The bar and bar cart serving drinks tableside are naturally equipped with Lalique crystal barware and accessories, including a carafe, stirrer, cordial jars, and glasses with a unique size ice cube designed to rest in them. The partnership includes Lalique's own Glenturret 15-year-old Highland single malt scotch whiskey from which a limited-edition cocktail, La Liqueur de René, is made in a nod to the crystal mark's founder.
While many might not immediately think of a bar when considering the two-star Michelin-rated restaurant, chef Daniel says it's a best-kept secret.
"People from the neighborhood know to come just when the pre-dinner crowds are seated in the dining room. We don't take reservations at the bar, but the locals know when to get a seat."
Now, they'll be swathed in the sparkle of Lalique.
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