Aroma Espresso Bar
The Israeli cafe chain Aroma Espresso Bar recently opened its second location in New York, on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. With vibrant colors, playful wall graphics and designer chairs styled for lingering, the two-level coffeehouse translates the concept for the company’s original New York venue—a long, narrow Soho space with a huge window facade—to a completely different neighborhood vibe. The material template starts with red wall tiles that arch down from the ceiling and extend the brand’s modern-yet-homey ambiance. “We took the colors that are characteristic of Aroma in Israel, and created a more comfortable feel, like a kitchen at home,” said Ilan Waisbrod, president of Studio Gaia, which designed New York restaurants Republic, Cafeteria, and BondSt, and now has a busy international practice. The distinctive rhythmic arches, separated by niches that contain indirect lighting fixtures, are just one of many strong visual statements that give the space its dynamic, theatrical look, while also giving this dowdy stretch of 72nd Street some much-needed pizzazz. The firm has designed a third Manhattan Aroma location, soon to open in the Financial District, where a more muted material palette and earth-toned color scheme seem in keeping with a buttoned-down Wall Street audience.