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TAO Group pioneered the Pan-Asian cuisine trend in 2000 when it opened TAO in Midtown Manhattan, followed by a Las Vegas location. Capitalizing on the brand’s success, the restaurant and nightclub group engaged Rockwell Group to design TAO Downtown in the lower levels of the Maritime Hotel in the Chelsea neighborhood near the Meatpacking District in New York.
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Rockwell Group designers created a vocabulary that references several Asian cultures and combines curated artifacts with new custom pieces. The result is a space that feels like a recently discovered tomb, and is gritty enough for its downtown location. “We wanted to create the feel of a New York cellar space that had always been there,” Sullivan says.
While many elements within TAO Downtown reference the ancient, the project marks a significant shift in branding for its owner. According to Wolf, “We wiped the slate clean, and together with Rockwell Group, created something fresh, sexy, and breathtakingly beautiful.”
Source: Design Contract