WORDS Gina Dionisio PHOTOS Supplied
Willowlamp’s theatrical ceiling installation shines at Cathédrale restaurant in Las Vegas.
Willowlamp, the award-winning South African bespoke lighting design company led by founder and creative director Adam Hoets, has crafted two spectacular theatrical lighting installations for Cathédrale, the newest restaurant in Las Vegas. Commissioned by the Rockwell Group, these awe-inspiring creations adorn Tao’s latest culinary venture, which opened its doors on 1 May 2023.
Willowlamp was tasked with reimagining the design intent of the original restaurant (based in East Village, New York) for the newest addition’s ceiling. Hoets drew inspiration from Italian artist Eduardo Tresoldi’s wire-mesh ceiling installation, which served as a key reference in the original design.
The Fillmore East, a Yiddish theatre built in the 1920s served as the initial inspiration behind the flagship restaurant. It was eventually turned into a concert hall dubbed ‘the Church of Rock and Roll’ that hosted acts like Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin.
This idea of a theatrical rock venue inside a glamorous church was another of the driving themes that informed Hoets’s design: “Because of the strong architectural references, in particular the forms within a cathedral, I set about studying the geometries, references and motifs used in the design of cathedrals,“ he explains. “I then extracted and developed the perfect architectonic language and framework for the project. This is why you feel as though you are immersed within an abstract construct of a cathedral.“
The exquisite installation wows visitors upon entry into the restaurant’s dining room, where the first of the two beaded chain canopies hang. This remarkable piece is crafted from a staggering 40 kilometres of chain, weighing nearly 3 000 kilograms. A second installation gracefully hovers above the bar, adorned with a staggering 22 000 chains.
Gigantic pieces like this usually take up to two years to complete, but the Willowlamp team managed to accomplish the massive task in only eight months. The two colossal installations are a testament to Hoets’s architectural background, empowering the multifaceted designer to execute the creation of structures that rival the glorious cathedrals that informed them.
The installations in Cathédrale are one of Willowlamp’s many once-off creations that adorn residential and hospitality spaces across the globe.