Two years after the legendary Philip Johnson-designed Four Seasons restaurant closed its doors at the Seagram Building, the iconic eatery has finally reopened at impressive new premises designed by the Brazilian architect Isay Weinfeld and has just won Best Reinvention in the Wallpaper* Design Awards. Situated between Madison and Park Avenues, just a few blocks away from its original location, the new restaurant is spread over two floors, occupying over 19,000 sq ft. From the Bar Room, which boasts a 20-seat sunken, gold-flecked bar and sensual teak beams overhead, to the main dining room, which teams Italian terrazzo floors with quartz bronze mirrored columns and steel fabric curtains, Weinfeld’s reinvention preserves the refined spirit of its predecessor without ever seeming literal.

Four Seasons restaurant dining room

The Dining Room. Photography: Fernando Guerra

Weinfeld was adamant that the new space, his first restaurant design on US soil, should strike a fresh chord. ‘From my very first meeting, I told the managing partners, Alex von Bidder and Julian Niccolini, that they should turn the page and have something completely different,’ he recalls. ‘Not something mimetic, but rather fresh, where any reference to the former Four Seasons would come out as subtle and not at all obvious.’ He adds, ‘that reference manifests itself in the purity of the design, the obsession with minute details, the sounds of the Four Seasons, recorded in Central Park and heard in the hallway connecting the bar to the restaurant, and finally, the choice of furnishings.’

Weinfeld has created a great cadence by juxtaposing moments of grandeur with restraint throughout the restaurant. Transitional spaces are sparsely furnished, yet clad in noble materials such as marble and limestone. The furniture, which includes Edward Wormley high stools in the bar, Jorge Zalszupin dining chairs, and new pieces that Weinfeld designed especially, hark back to another time but are still rooted in the present. Looking back while moving forward, it’s the collective sum of these parts that truly makes the restaurant sing. §

As originally featured in the February 2019 issue of Wallpaper* (W*239)