35 Greenwich Avenue
Designer: MADLAB + SPURSE
Peering into new Italian wine shop Le Vigne after closing time, it almost looks as if the store’s tables and chairs decided to take advantage of their lack of supervision by throwing a party. In the center of the store stands a 25-foot-long, white-painted assemblage of furniture seemingly leaning, twisting, bending, and perching—all with wine bottles akimbo. The brainchild of New York and New Jersey–based MADLAB design studio, in collaboration with the artists’ collective SPURSE, the jumbled edifice actually represents an abstracted map of Italy, with wines located according to where on the peninsula they’re produced. The quirky project also represents a creative response to a shoestring budget—an imperative for 25-year-old owner Carlo Orrico, who quit his job as a sommelier last fall to open his first wine store in a decidedly sober economy. “We loaded up two truckloads of furniture from Goodwill and Salvation Army,” said MADLAB design partner Petia Morozov. “The material budgets were astoundingly low.” Surrendering all creative control to the design team, Orrico ended up with a striking interior without making any major changes to the 600-square-foot space itself, except to strip it down to the hardwood floors, plaster and brick walls, and tin ceiling of its original 1902 state. In that rough-hewn setting, Le Vigne’s surrealist furnishings make wine-shopping seem all the more in tune with Chelsea’s nearby art galleries.