Momofuku Las VegasWill Speros • Photography by Nikolas Koenig • September 12, 2017
Balanced with a few brand signatures, each Momofuku benefits from a unique, locally informed design that mirrors the quality of the cuisine. For the latest Las Vegas outpost on the second floor of the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Toronto-based DesignAgency, which worked on its first Toronto location, sought to “maintain Momofuku’s clean aesthetic,” explains DesignAgency founding partner Anwar Mekhayech, while also reveling in the opulence of Sin City. “We asked ourselves, ‘How does a modest brand translate to Vegas while still being true to itself?’”
Mekhayech and his team started with Momofuku’s palette of architectural white oak, and then injected the space with touches inspired by Las Vegas. Peach-tinted mirrors, brass accents, and warm neon lighting serve as key motifs, while playful elements like custom carpeting clad with dragons and original artwork, including a colorful 50-foot-long graffiti installation by David Choe, contrast the straight, angular lines of the design.
Views are also important with windows framing Las Vegas’ Eiffel Tower. This, Mekhayech says, was done on purpose. “In contrast to most hospitality environments in Las Vegas, which tend to face inward, the restaurant offers prime views of the Las Vegas Strip at the Cosmopolitan,” he notes.
A sprawling squid ink noodle-inspired chandelier made of black steel ribbons is a powerful focal point that gives the massive dining room a sense of intimacy. Sliding solid brass screens “inspire a secluded atmosphere,” while adding “a touch of luxury and opulence,” says Makhayech, and reveal glimpses of the private dining room.
“There’s a sense of excitement that builds from room to room. We love the sense of discovery about what’s around the corner—that playfulness speaks to the Momofuku brand,” Mekhayech says.
Indeed, for the clandestine private dining room, Mekhayech drew on Chinese banquet halls. Guarded by braided wire dragon sculptures by Kwangho Lee on the outside, antique mirrored walls, plush red velvet, dramatic lighting, and a red lacquered bar amplify the moody interior.
“We wanted to create moments of privacy and to add decorative yet functional new elements to the design, introducing two new metals like brass and blackened steel,” he says. “We want guests to have the ability to experience different settings in one venue, whether it’s more casual or luxurious, open or private, festive or intimate.”