What would you do after retiring form an epic, decorated and legendary career in the National Basketball Association? How about getting inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1987, become a color commentator for the NBA’s New York Knicks, and then get into the restaurant business? That’s exactly what Walt “Clyde” Frazier did, now with the opening of his restaurant, Fraizer’s Wine and Dine in New York City, designed by Morphosis Architects. Frazier, now 67, famous in his day not only as an athlete, but as a flamboyant dresser, earned the nickname “Clyde” after the snazzy-dressed protagonist of the 1967 movie Bonnie and Clyde (a personal favorite film of mine), and the restaurant seems to really fit his style. It even has a foul-shooting basketball court at one end of the bar. I was immediately sold!
In order to stray from the theme of a sports bar (described as a “beery, greasy-burger, shouty, TV” atmosphere), ARK Restaurants (the co-owner) and its chairman/CEO Michael Weinstein wished to focus more on quality food, prepared by renowned chef David Waltruck. Within the generic 10,000-square-foot rectangular space, the main restaurant is located at the south end, with the bar in the center, and finally the lounge at the north with a 5 foot level drop. Within either entrance, Morphosis Architects created some “Clyde-style” cylindrical columns (structural and fake) that act as monumental gateways. Why are the columns described as “Clyde-style,” you ask. On each column lies resin-covered digital images of Frazier in his well-known exuberant attire and some black-and-white images from his days on the NBA hardwood.
The most interesting feature of the Wine & Dine (besides the foul-shooting basketball court I mentioned earlier; again, SOLD) would be the 170-foot-long collection of colorful, patterned, flat & folded aluminum panels that are suspended over the restaurant, made by Zahner’s metal fabricators. Morphosis was inspired by the multitude of patterns and palettes found in Frazier’s closets (ranging from stripes, plaids, and prints), and had the photographs they took printed onto film and later applied to 544 aluminum panels of six shapes.
[Thanks Architectural Record]