The Modellus Novus-designed Mel’s, which opened in 2022 as part of the reimagining of the cavernous space that previously housed legendary Del Posto, was a study in the effect of color on atmosphere. With a palette driven by the making of pizza with open flames, diners are made to feel as if they are walking into a working kitchen. The heat, energy and color dissipate subtly as you move towards the edges of the space.
The hues and color blocking of the space were inspired by Bauhaus and Corbusian precedents, where paint schemes define unique spaces. A striking arched opening in the back of the space is at its most functional a pathway to the bathroom, but from the perspective of the diner, appears as a beautiful floating feature and aperture to somewhere magical.
Photos by Adrian Gaut
“Mel's had to thread a bunch of needles—we wanted a space that felt comfortable and approachable enough for a family to come for dinner, yet sexy enough to go there on date night. By bringing in the very warm glow of the kitchen out into the dining spaces, we've achieved everything we could have asked for.”
Melissa Rodriguez, Chef and Owner
Number of pendant light fixtures—these often used to light highways in Europe—which warmly illuminate the space
Different paint colors, along with choreographed illumination, are the core design element of the space
Linear feet of neon lights are used to amplify the use of color and form
Foot diameter of the wood fired pizza oven that anchors the kitchen and is celebrated in the restaurant’s design
Total number of pizzas that fit on all tables and counters at one time