Brasserie 8½ is a contemporary restaurant in the classic Gordon Bunshaft building at 9 West 57th Street. The facility’s design combines a modern sensibility, accessible cuisine, and a relaxed atmosphere to achieve an arresting fusion of creativity and comfort.
The Brasserie occupies 13,000 square feet on two levels. In addition to the main dining room, the 230-seat restaurant features a cocktail bar and lounge, private dining areas, and an informal food bar.
Patrons enter from street level into an elegant glass cylindrical lobby, open to the restaurant below. A cast-glass ceiling, lit from within and supported by stainless-steel ribs, is sited above the central portion of the cocktail bar and lounge. A grand curved stair leads down to the bar and lounge, whose curvilinear wall showcases framed artwork and contains entrances to two private dining areas.
An illuminated stained-glass mural by the French cubist artist Fernand Léger is the main dining room’s focal point. This interior’s other features include terrazzo flooring, a stepped ceiling light fixture of cast glass and stainless steel, and walls of green silk contrasted with a wainscot of Douka wood veneer. Douka veneer also covers the south set of columns; the north set is jacketed in polished chrome.
The overall design complements the building’s classic modernism and expresses the owner’s desire for simplicity and bold color.