My partner Marc Dizon is the lead designer for the new restaurant/club Griffin, which is opening in the old PM space in the Meatpacking District. A hard date for the opening isn’t set yet, but somewhere around the third week of April seems feasible. The management team consists of Josh Kaiser (Pink Elephant), James Hinojos (Lesly Bernard), Rachel Uchitel (Tao Vegas), and Hector Longoria (Cain). Josh is still in the Pink Elephant mix while he puts the Griffin staff through an intense training schedule. They wouldn’t confirm it, but a friend tells me that the Milk and Honey and Little Branch crew are doing the drinks. The management team are volume-club veterans, so I believe there will be speed when there is a need.
The music will be a “mixed format” as opposed to mash-up, and the sound is by Dan Agne, so of course that means function one. Dan is one of the premiere guys doing club sound. I caught up to him at my Greenhouse party last night, and he was most enthusiastic about how the room will sound. I hear that it’s a 6 p.m. opening with light food. The thing that seemed most interesting about the menu are the celebrity-endorsed lollipops from Sugardaddy.com.
Since his project is near completion, I decided to hit my partner Marc Dizon with a few questions about his work.
What is your history as a designer? As a kid I was working in construction, so that parlayed my career in architecture. I went to architecture school at Parsons; from there I was recruited into Richard Meier and then I worked on some very important buildings. I designed the Jubilee Church and a few other notable museums in Rome, but after that I realized that my true calling was hospitality. I’ve always been around this world — the first club I ever went to was Steve Lewis’ when I was 14. It’s funny how everything comes back full circle. I think it’s a better application for my skills and technique because it’s about experience, the user, and changing a persons perception of what a space is like and how they interact in a space.
What is it like to be my partner? It’s fun and it’s creative because we bounce ideas off each other. We’re like the Jekyll and Hyde team — you’re a bit of live wire, and I’m a little bit more composed. It’s a great combination on so many levels because we both come up with great ideas that are half-baked, and if one can’t figure out how to develop an idea fully, the other person picks it up very quickly. So we can have a really half-assed idea and bring it together because we’re very complementary to each other.
What was the design intent behind Griffin? It was really about creating a space that was going to embrace that whole Meatpacking/Gansevoort location, but not as a hip, hot place — instead as a starting point of old New York, turn-of-the-century French Colonial, Dutch-inspired architecture and interiors. Using that aesthetic as a basis, we created the space using modern techniques, making it a little bit more edgy with oversized chandeliers, hanging a gigantic mirror on the ceiling, etc.
How did sound considerations affect your design? The sound was important because there were a lot of complaints from the neighborhood. We had to create a pretty intensive sound room, so we basically designed the whole place as a box within a box. The internal box is floating from the shell, so we’re kind of in a space within another space. And with the acoustics — we definitely worked very closely with Dan Agne to create a room that was sonically efficient. The shape of the room enhances the sound.