Beautiful Spaces: Avra Madison Avenue

WORDS Cheri Morris IMAGES Warren Jagger

The second Avra recently opened its doors (and windows) on Madison Avenue in a successful attempt to bring the Mediterranean to the streets of New York.

Designed by David Rockwell of the Rockwell Group, the restaurant is located over two stories in an historic building ideally located opposite Barney’s on the Upper East Side. The second Avra sought to distil the magical qualities found in the original Midtown East restaurant and is the embodiment of Grecian open-air villas with its courtyard atmosphere and market-style seafood display.

This rustic yet modernised interpretation of a classic South European restaurant is a vision of chic sophistication and dons a neutral colour palette that transports its diners from the bustling city streets into a serene urban oasis. The newly restored large bay windows will open onto the street in warm weather to create a sidewalk café.

An excavated skylight allows natural light to cascade onto white oak, Dolomiti white marble, oil-rubbed bronze, specialised light fixtures, greenery and custom artwork by the likes of Brooklyn artist Fernando Mastrangelo, New Orleans artist Amanda Talley and renowned Greek artist Philip Tsiaras. A 1 360 kg site-specific sculpture made from salt crystal and cement brings a touch of the ocean to the restaurant, while varied use of bronze, split-faced stone, white marble, wood panelling and textured walnut make for a warm contrast against the crisp and clean feel of the neutral hues.

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