Le Crocodile Masterminds Bring a Winning Formula to Bar Blondeau, and Other News

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Bar Blondeau at the Wythe Hotel. Photography by Liz Clayman

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Le Crocodile Masterminds Bring Winning Formula to Bar Blondeau

When the French brasserie Le Crocodile opened in a former industrial space at the Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, it emerged as chefs Aidan O’Neal and Jake Leiber’s fully realized vision of a modern French brasserie. Now the duo, whose nearby bistro Chez Ma Tante is another local staple, is teaming up with restaurateur Jon Neidich to bring a slightly dialed-down formula to Bar Blondeau, an intimate French-style bar nestled six floors above.  

Immediately greeting guests is a marble-top bar clad in lustrous sea green tiles that anchors a gold-accented dining room, which design firm Bonetti/Kozerski adorned with natural oak walls and sumptuous built-in burgundy leather and deep green velvet banquettes. Don’t be fooled by the hotel rooftop setting; the 70-seat watering hole offers far more than flashy digs and Instagram-ready views of the Manhattan skyline. Underneath gold-accented ambient lighting, guests sip on sommelier Rafa Garcia Febles’ international selection of natural wines and beverage director Sorine Anderson’s craft cocktails, ranging from classic martinis to frozen beverages with a twist. On the menu: seafood-forward small plates infused with French, Spanish, and Portuguese influences, including calamari with black olive tapenade and prawns a la plancha garnished with citrus, green garlic, and chives.

Reishi material by Mycoworks. Photography by Jesse Green

Plant-Based Leather Continues Its Path Toward Mass-Market Viability 

The mushroom leather arms race is heating up. After making waves with an Hermès partnership, mycelium material startup MycoWorks announced it raised $125 million in a Series C funding round. Founded in 2013, the company developed a proprietary material called Reishi using mycelium, the root structure of mushrooms. The material was already a hot commodity among celebrity investors and fashion labels—Natalie Portman, John Legend, and big-name brands were among the headliners contributing to the $45 million raised during the Series B round in 2020. 

MycoWorks says it will use the funding to open a new facility in Emeryville, California, that will produce millions of square feet of material per year. Competitors in the plant-based leather space have hit their own milestones in recent years. Bolt Threads has collaborated with Kering, Stella McCartney, Adidas, Lululemon, and Ganni, while Ecovative has teamed up with fashion groups Bestseller and PVH to incubate materials for future commercial purposes. 

Luteca showroom in Paris

Luteca makes its European debut with a new showroom at Galerie Vivienne in Paris.

Luteca may be a relatively young furniture company, but its presence is quickly expanding. The contemporary Mexican design brand recently opened a showroom at Galerie Vivienne in Paris, marking its European debut after expanding to New York from Mexico City. Designed by French architect Aurel Delaroière, the new space nods to Luteca’s Mexican modernist roots with terracotta details and indoor trees that conjure the laid-back atmosphere and cultural heritage of its home country. “[Aure] knows the culture, architecture, and types of materials used in Mexico, and we wanted to create a space with a lot of emotion that was very welcoming, much like the lifestyle and hospitality in Latin America,” Amanda Reant, who co-founded Luteca in 2015 with her husband Sebastien, tells Wallpaper

A new startup aims to eliminate the 75 million gallons of paint wasted every year. 

Up Paint collects used paint from drop-off locations across the country, processes and purifies it, and then adds its own pigments to create one of 18 colors in its line. Along with being good for the environment, the company’s products will provide consumers with great value—at $40 a gallon it’s cheaper than many brands on the market. “Right now, there’s a patchwork system of collecting unused paint that varies from state-to-state,” says founder Dustin Martin. “But it has created an opportunity for us to upcycle this paint and sell it through our brand.”

Big Tech is coming up short on promises to address the affordable housing crisis.

Over the past few years, Apple, Google, and Meta all vowed to create more than 40,000 units of affordable housing in California, a state ravaged by a dire housing crisis. Recent reports show that the three tech giants have fallen woefully short on their promises and have funded a mere 1,500 completed homes. While zoning laws and pandemic restrictions are partially to blame, critics note that the firms are trying to solve a problem they helped create and that promises they made to address the issue were fueled to counter negative publicity. 

Bloomy’s. Photography by Nacasa & Partners Inc

Eriko Kasahara designs a blooming funeral hall and flower café in Saitama, Japan.

Inspired by a winter garden enclosed by glass, Japanese designer Eriko Kasahara’s Bloomy’s flower cafe and funeral hall in Saitama upends the solemn atmosphere of traditional funeral homes. The verdant interiors are lined in warm wood, full-height glass walls, and eco-friendly KEIM mineral paint—a vernacular that promotes physical and mental wellbeing.    

Salone del Mobile organizers postpone the fair to June 7–12 due to the pandemic.

Salone del Mobile has been postponed to June 7–12 due to safety concerns brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. Originally scheduled for early April, the fair hopes the newly announced dates will attract more global attendees. “The decision to postpone the event will enable exhibitors, visitors, journalists, and the entire furnishing and design community to make the very most of an event that promises to be packed with new things in total safety,” Salone del Mobile president Maria Porro said in a statement. “As well as celebrating a major anniversary, the event will focus on the theme of sustainability, acting as a showcase for the progress made in this regard by creatives, designers, and companies.” Maison & Objet and the Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair also recently postponed their editions this year.

The muted palette of Justic League on HBO Max

Today’s attractive distractions:

Color palettes on TV shows and movies feel grayer than in decades past.

Instagram is developing a feature that lets users configure their profile grid.

After seven decades, French dressing will no longer have an official definition.

For three days, artists performed atop melting icebergs over Sydney’s harbor.

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