Turn back the clock nearly a century to the 1920s and ‘30s in New York. It was an era defined by glamor, vivacity, social progress and, of course, Art Deco style.
The fine craftsmanship, rich materiality, and bold geometric forms of Art Deco made an impact on nearly every aspect of life, from architecture and design, to fashion—and a new pop-up café in New York has set out to capture the vibrant spirit of this bygone era.
The pop-up café has taken over a space at 729 Madison Avenue in Manhattan. The striking, neon-lit sign hints at the Art Deco splendor within.
Located at 729 Madison Avenue, in the heart of Manhattan, the Reverso 1931 Café brings together the distinctive style of three cities—Paris, Shanghai, and New York—each of which played a role in the development of the Art Deco style.
The interior setting takes visitors on a journey from Paris, the birthplace of Art Deco in the 1920s, through to Shanghai, where the distinctive Chinese Art Deco style flourished in the 1930s; and to New York, where the bold geometric forms have left an indelible imprint on the architectural landscape of the city.
The interior draws inspiration from the Art Deco era—think graphic patterns, a monochrome palette with gilded accents, and a finely crafted material palette.
The brand behind the Reverso 1931 Café is Swiss luxury watch manufacturer Jaeger-LeCoultre, which came up with the immersive concept to celebrate the 90th anniversary of its iconic Reverso timepiece.
Launched in 1931 and defined by its elegant Art Deco lines, the Reverso has become arguably one of the most recognizable watches of all time, gracing the wrists of such iconic characters as Donald Draper and Bruce Wayne on screen and countless design lovers in the real world.
The clock on the wall behind the bar is a nod to the iconic Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso timepiece from which the pop-up café takes its name.
Perhaps the most unique feature of the Reverso—and the namesake of the timepiece—is its revolutionary reversible case. Originally designed as a sport watch, the Reverso features a case that allows wearers to slip the watch out of its socket and reverse it to face inwards to protect it during matches.
In doing so, it reveals a blank metal flipside that has since become a unique canvas for creative expression—think finely enameled tributes to the greats of the art world and intricate engravings.
The Reverso Café 1931 celebrates the history of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso, with historic images and adverts from the time of its launch and a video showcasing how the luxury timepiece is crafted.
The menu at the Reverso 1931 Café is just as creative as the timepiece it celebrates. Designed by Paris-based chef Nina Métayer, who has twice been named Pastry Chef of the Year, it features Art Deco-inspired treats that echo the interior design of the café and evoke the flavors of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s home in the Vallée de Joux.
Like Art Deco objets d’art, the visually spectacular pastries have a focus on fine craftsmanship—from a delicate confection that brings to mind a snowy mountain and conceals a sweet center of mountain berries and honey; to an elegant Swiss chocolate and hazelnut pastry intricately patterned with Art Deco-style graphics.
Visitors will even be treated to complimentary Art Deco chocolates.
The Reverso 1931 Café will be open until November 22, and will then take to the streets of SoHo and Bryant Park as a food truck adorned with exuberant typographical artwork by Spanish typographer and illustrator Alex Trochut until December 2. The work draws on a new Art Deco-inspired font—also called 1931—that the artist developed to mark the anniversary of the Reverso.
The Reverso 1931 Café features an area dedicated to the latest collaboration in the Jaeger-LeCoultre Made of Makers program, showcasing the work of Spanish typographer and illustrator Alex Trochut.
The bespoke font developed for Jaeger-LeCoultre by typographer Alex Trochut is on display in the street-facing window. Each letter has been brought to life in dramatic sculptural form using materials and a color palette that evokes the era that inspired it. Photographs of chef Nina Métayer and her creations for the café adorn the walls.
The collaboration between Jaeger-LeCoultre and Trochut is part of the brand’s Made of Makers program, which draws on the long tradition of partnership between the horology and art worlds.
“This concept unifies Art Deco and Jaeger-LeCoultre’s craft of watchmaking,” explains Trochut. “I wanted these letters to feel physical and expose their intricate parts equally as functional and decorative, giving the sense of a moving machine.”
Learn more about Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Art Deco style at jaeger-lecoultre.com.
Art Deco Lovers Should Visit the Reverso 1931 Café in New York / By Mandi Keighran / Jaeger-LeCoultre / Janbolat Khanat Almaty News Tourism Office