The Collective

At first glance, entering The Collective puts the senses into overdrive with an amalgamation of disconnected décor.  But upon closer inspection, wonderment and irony appears in every nook, as everyday items and trash are refashioned into artwork with a new sense of purpose and fill this trendy Meatpacking lounge/restaurant. The theme behind The Collective is to recycle, reuse, reclaim, repurpose, [and] reinvent by taking old, found, discarded and useless items, and reinserting them into our environment in a new way, forcing patrons to rethink and reevaluate the space, the items and visitors’ relationship to them.

All of the furniture, light fixtures and decor came from antique stores, flea markets, Craigslist, junkyards, eBay and the sidewalk, where a collective of over 20 artists from all five boroughs reworked them out of the ICrave workshop.  Some of the artists and designers involved include the following: Ryan James; filmmaker Brandi Hugo-Garris; Steven Garris, who specializes in creating art from flea market finds; Joel Hester, who makes furniture from scrap metal; and Jason Rogenes, who transforms waste and everyday material into sculptures and installations.

This project was an opportunity for these renowned architects and designers to relearn their craft and reconnect with the environment. Everyday items were repurposed with new meaning, such as a ceiling made from discarded Styrofoam packing materials, a chandelier made from pill bottles, lampshades made from clothing hangers, Enron stocks as wallpaper, chairs made from still-working Walk/Don’t Walk signs, columns tiled with bottle caps and tables made from junked car hoods.

Ironically, The Collective is the brainchild of the One group—the folks behind Bagatelle, STK and RDV, and who are known for their success in creating trendy, luxury-oriented boites with pricey bottle service. But with the sobering effects of the recession and a paradigm shift of industry repositioning came the idea of creating a restaurant filled with reworked garbage and relics.

Though this establishment is anti-bottle service, it will be a welcome respite in the heart of the nightlife district with a menu that caters to the late night revelers. Think disco fries, chicken and waffles, truffled deviled eggs, short rib sliders and blue cheese tater tots—enough to satisfy those 4 a.m. cravings after a night of club-hopping.

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– Hillary Latos