INTERSECT by Lexus is a place where Design, Art, Ideas and Food & Drink come together to create a new kind of brand experience.
A permanent restaurant/bar/exhibition space dedicated to the cross-pollination of ideas, it’s a far cry from a car showroom in an industrial estate on the outskirts of the city. LEXUS has done everything at the high end at INTERSECT and the New York space is the third of its kind, the others residing in Tokyo and Dubai.
INTERSECT New York will have a constantly changing residency of chefs who will not stay longer than a few months, allowing them the time and flexibility to really experiment.
The car, of course is present, and if the idea of dining within eyeshot of a brand-new slick Lexus doesn’t unnerve you then there is a lot to be gained from this fresh approach to the ‘brand experience’.
Located in the heart of New York’s Meat Packing district the space was designed by world renowned interior designer Masamichi Katayama and the Wonderwall team. The culinary vision for the Restaurant and Café was led by partner, Danny Meyer’s acclaimed Union Square Hospitality Group.
The street level hosts a café area, the retail area with Lexus inspired goods on display, and a Public Gallery space. The second floor has the restaurant, Cocktail Bar and Lounge, while the third floor has a Private Gallery can be used for a variety of design led concept events.
INTERSECT BY LEXUS provides a space to collaborate on experiential programming that engages with the building, community and five core pillars – culinary, design, entertainment, hospitality, and technology. Below is a Q&A with the project.
Can you explain the Intersect concept for us please?
INTERSECT BY LEXUS – NYC is a creative space in select global cities dedicated to the ethos of the Lexus lifestyle. Following successful launches in Tokyo and Dubai, the New York City space opened in November, 2018. It is located in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District and features private and public gallery spaces, a full-service fine dining restaurant, Bar and Cocktail lounge, café and retail destination. The unique venue combines the brand’s foundational elements of craftsmanship, hospitality and technology to create a lifestyle hub where New Yorkers and travelers can experience the brand without ever getting behind the steering wheel of a car.
At what point do the worlds of automotive design and fine dining intersect?
The worlds of automotive design and fine dining intersect in many ways. The most evident is through the emphasis on craftsmanship. Master craftsmanship is a key message throughout INTERSECT BY LEXUS and it is conveyed in the ways in which all of the components were built, how materials were used and the way in which food is prepared. For example, the leather on the circular bar and elevators originates from the LFA supercar, and the carbon fiber used for the counters and several tables in the lounge is a core material of the LFA. The architecture of the kitchen and its open concept is a nod to the social theme of the space, Omotenashi, which loosely translates to Hospitality. The idea is based in the sense that guests can enjoy watching the art of cooking and appreciate the preparation of food itself, rounding out the overarching theme of craftsmanship.
In what clear ways do the worlds of automotive design and fine dining diverge?
First off, there are not really edible parts of a car. But also, the choice of materials in cars tends to be metal, glass, leather and rubber, regardless of where the vehicle originates. The choice of ingredients in fine dining is cast and truly different depending on the region of the globe it originates.
The kitchen is set up at Intersect NY to feature a new Executive Chef every few months. Why?
The Global Chef-in-Residence program was conceived as a way to give New Yorkers a chance to experience a new cuisine without having to get on an airplane. For up and coming chefs, it is an opportunity to give people in New York a taste of what they are creating around the globe.
What has been the reaction to Intersect NY so far?
Overall, the reaction has been very positive. New Yorkers seem to appreciate the idea of a hub for art, design and technology that also features a new cuisine every few months.
Is there a place for further collaboration between design brands and chefs?
Absolutely, brands and chefs alike create experiences for their customers.
Could this model be expanded to affect the restaurant industry?
The idea of a Rotating Chef-in-Residence program is very appealing as it offers chefs and guests alike new experiences and opportunities. Chefs can cook for new audiences in new settings while guests can consistently return to their favorite spot and try a new cuisine which they may have never gotten the chance to try without leaving the city. As restaurants are looking for new ways to adapt to trends and the changing culture of the industry, a rotating program is undoubtedly a way to maintain a level of relevancy and “buzziness.”
What have been the biggest challenges in realizing this project?
Our first challenge was to convert a building constructed as a wine warehouse in 1901 to a visually arresting fine dining destination. And to do this concurrent with a massive upgrade to the Meatpacking District in New York City which closed the street in front of the building for two years. Out next challenge was our own making and involves identifying our second chef in residence following the high culinary bar set by our first chef, Gregory Marchand.
Do you have any other chefs lined up to cook at Intersect?
Yes, Chef Sergio Barroso of Restaurante 040 in Santiago, Chile will be the second chef at INTERSECT BY LEXUS - NYC. The second iteration of the restaurant opens on April 7th, 2019 and will offer a 12-course small plates tasting menu that consists of cutting edge bite-size dishes set to change on a regular basis for $95/person. Lunch will be slightly more condensed with a 6-course tasting menu for $40/person. Dishes that will be served include hake churros with béchamel foam, shank dumpling and smoked broth, and oyster with green apple and hot pepper sorbet.
Which other cities will INTERSECT travel to?
Intersect by Lexus – NYC is the third location for Intersect. The first opened in Tokyo in 2013 and the second in Dubai in 2015. Lexus is pleased with the response to Intersect and continues to look for additional ways to bring the lifestyle side of the brand to life.
The current chef is Marchand from France is INTERSECT's first global Chef-In-Residence.