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Front Studio McNally Jackson Makeover

A New York literary hub inspires a café design with books in mind.

Front Studio McNally Jackson Makeover


March 25th, 2010

The New York-based design studio Front Studio was recently commissioned to redesign a much-loved independent bookstore in Manhattan’s Nolita district.

Already established as a bookworm’s mecca, the McNally Jackson bookshop café was re-conceptualised by Front Studio to create an inspiring space brimming with book associations.

“It was a collaboration between avid readers – we began to imagine a space where every moment draws forth some visceral connection with books and with reading,” said Yen Ha of Front Studio, who worked alongside Michi Yanagishita.

With books as the focus of the café’s design, the walls were plastered with open-spine books, which acted as wallpaper covering the curved walls, creating a spectacular rippled effect.

Scatterings of books hang from the ceiling on metal poles like unassuming chandeliers, interspersed with exposed light bulbs, making books become decorative statements as well as the influence behind the look. 

Dotted around the wall, a series of folding single wooden tables carefully crafted to resemble a folded book when closed, open up to offer a stable surface for coffee perching and light bites.

But the re-design didn’t stop at the interior – the new menu is made of food related quotes lit by four light fixtures, each dedicated to the many editions of one single book.

Front Studio

Photography by Maggie Soladay
Book selection by Sarah McNally

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