A Taste of Olde New York: LostLES
Jen Renzi -- Interior Design, 9/1/2009 12:00:00 AM
Tiny's Giant Sandwich Shop is truly bite-size: a 430-square-foot corner storefront where Lower East Side denizens quite literally rub elbows while eating BLTs and Silly Philly Portobellos. Designer Michael Brown, principal of Lot71, recommends the chicken Parmesan on semolina, which he noshes on while sketching installations for such fashion clients as Isaac Mizrahi, Y-3, and Miss Sixty. Tiny's itself became a client when owner Kevin Gregor commissioned his loyal customer to create a site-specific celebration of the sandwich shop's 10th anniversary.
Inspired by the raffish beauty of the neighborhood as well as the camera obscura photographs of Abelardo Morell, Brown envisioned LostLES, a mural that grafts a streetscape onto the interior. "With all the windows, Tiny's is like an outdoor café inside, a setup that excited me," he explains. After projecting a skewed image of a classic Italianate tenement facade onto the shop's walls and ceiling to use as a guide, he enlisted a crew of eight scenic artists, friends from his days designing theater sets, to reproduce the wrought-iron fire escapes and ornamental cornices in latex paint. The resulting mural, he explains, delightfully confuses the sense of space—and intrigues passersby: "You don't expect to look inside a building and see another building." That's something to chew on.