Modern art and fine dining meld at this culinary kaleidoscope ​​underneath the David Geffen wing of the MoMA

  • ClientAltamarea Group
  • StudioPhysical
  • LocationNew York

Inspired by Chinese imperial palaces, Taoist principles, and contemporary art, 53 bustles by day and glows by night —all underneath MoMA’s new David Geffen wing.

Owing to the restaurant’s proximity to MoMA, Journey tapped into millennia of history, art, culture, and craftsmanship to design a painterly dining experience at 53.

In the spirit of this iconic location, the renowned Friedrich Petzel Gallery is collaborating in a curatorial partnership to showcase a rotating art program throughout the restaurant.

Feast your eyes on our masterpiece, 53.

Directly under the new David Geffen wing of the MoMA in New York City, the 11,000-square-foot restaurant spans three floors and features distinct dining areas: a street-level bistro, a cellar-level main dining room, and Ba53ment—53’s subterranean speakeasy.

Diners move through a series of ‘galleries’, going from one scene to the next and seemingly inhabiting the artwork.

“Midtown gets a lot chicer with the arrival of 53, the stunning Asian restaurant situated at a storied address.”Vogue

The sunken, double-height main dining room has been imagined as a landscape diorama, visible from street level, showcasing an aerial view and revealing a modern dining room, bustling by day and glowing by night.


With a unique opportunity to view the space from above/below and beyond/within, the Journey team designed a series of blades that flow from the ground floor to the dining room, representing the “chi” or balanced energy flowing from the space.



The most common representation of Taoism is the Yin-Yang figure, a concept of duality that runs throughout the multiple experiences within the restaurant.  

The alternation between matte/glossy surfaces and neutral/saturated edgebands brings the idea of the yin-yang into a new dimension.

53’s subterranean speakeasy, Ba53ment, draws inspiration from regal Asian motifs, blending traditional and contemporary elements into its own distinctive design.

Inspired by Asian-style cuisine, Journey created a bold yet intimate ambiance for 53.


53 “Looks like the airport hangar Anna Wintour would build for her private jet.”

– The Infatuation

— 53

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