How Stephanie Goto Transformed Outdoor Dining

Discover how designer Stephanie Goto transformed New York outdoor dining with renowned chef Daniel Boulud - featuring Perennials Fabrics!

Courtesy Stephanie Goto

The COVID-19 pandemic required restaurateurs around the globe to rethink indoor fine dining. Michelin-star New York chef Daniel Boulud decided to reopen Daniel after six months with a new spin. Boulud teamed up with architect Stephanie Goto to design an outdoor dining space for his new concept, Boulud Sur Mer. Enter Perennials. Goto and Boulud tell us how their French Riviera vision came to fruition using innovative solutions and Perennials fabric.

It is critical now more than ever for the restaurant to extend their hospitality to the outdoors to welcome guests.

What were your immediate challenges in designing a restaurant during a pandemic?

SG: The immediacy of the timeframe presented when indoor dining was announced and the need to think and build quickly with a mindful budget was challenging. We wanted design to play an integral role in uplifting guests as they are taken away on a journey and for a moment forget about the distance, separation and barriers. It was important to be thoughtful about every detail even for a temporary installation. Without our generous partners and all of the people that worked hard to realize the vision, this would not have been possible.

Courtesy Stephanie Goto

Did you know right off the bat you wanted to design outdoor bungalows? Or did that idea come after the interior design?

SG: The approach was to always continue the indoor experience to the outdoors. Outdoor dining lead the way for New York restaurants to open this Summer. It was a natural progression to consider the Bungalows when we thought about indoor dining and the winter season. Now that indoor dining has now also been paused, the Bungalows are really the soul of the experience.

DB: The bungalows were designed to anchor the entrance at DANIEL and create an artistic ripple effect of color and design in front of the building façade while capturing the nonchalant breeze of the sea.

How did you combine the more traditional “south of France” aesthetic with your own modern perspective?

SG: My vision was to capture the elemental qualities of the South of France rather than replicate it. Qualities like the breeze, nature, the light where inspirations that were infused into a modern expression.

How did you choose Perennials’ I Love Stripes fabric?

Courtesy Stephanie Goto

SG: The bold timeless quality recalled a familiarity and also provided the necessary graphic image that was important architecturally.

DB: Perennials Fabric was the perfect choice to enhance the design of the bungalows. We chose the color of red geraniums with sandy stripes to capture the casual elegance of a beach bungalow.

Tell us about the partnership between design and restaurant. How do the bungalow designs reflect the BOULUD SUR MER menu?

SG: Daniel and I have a long history of collaboration so the process came very naturally. We wanted to provide a more casual atmosphere that was welcoming – both with the menu and the design – but keeping the underlying spirit of fine dining.

DB: The soothing color adds a calm energy and a welcoming privacy. Our menu changes often, but always reflects life by the sea. The thickness and strength of the fabric keep the bungalows very warm, making the dining experience more pleasant.

Courtesy Stephanie Goto

Do you foresee bungalows taking the NYC restaurant industry by storm? Do you think it reflects New Yorkers’ perseverance?

SG: We never imagined engaging the city sidewalk in the way that we have especially at Restaurant Daniel. Yes, It is inherent in New Yorkers and especially Chef Daniel to never give up. This was an opportunity to show hope and strength during challenging times.

Reimagining outdoor dining in the concrete jungle? Fearless. Goto spoke with us recently about fearless design – check it out here – and stay tuned for more Fearlessly Perennials stories.