Modellus Novus imagined Undercote as the ideal setting for conversations to take place deep into the night, physically grounding the subterranean cocktail lounge as an environment for idling. Convinced that the best secrets are told in the dark, the project explored the qualities of low visibility and shadows as experienced on a moonlit night, helping Undercote to earn a top-five international travel destination bar commendation from Surface Magazine. Moonlight is cast upon walls of living plants, not only illuminating the texture and form of the surreal vegetal installations but also drawing attention to a quality of light rarely experienced in an urban environment.
Subtle uses of color and texture add visual diversity that only become evident once one’s rods and cones have calibrated to the depth of an underground darkness. Walls that were assumed to be black shift to navy blue, while tables that appeared as silhouettes show themselves as veined green marble atop charcoal gray carpet. Reflections seen in black glass amplify the sense of depth and ambiguity in the space, while also multiplying light points which decorate the space.
Photos by Gary He and Naho Kubota
“Beneath the top-tier Korean boîte Cote in the Flatiron District comes this journey into the underworld courtesy of MN. Dark tones, subdued lighting, and concrete textures suggest something hewn from New York’s granite bedrock, while shafts of brightness arrive through clever windowed galleries that host wild green fauna.”
Number of steps to reach the underground oasis that is Undercote, though it feels miles away from the city above
Pantone color of the navy blue velvet entry curtains which evoke the color of the sky on a moonlit night
The color temperature of moonlight, which adorns the rooms botanical displays, tables and main bar
Days that Cote New York, the bustling restaurant located above the venue, had to shut down during construction of Undercote
Species of exotic and meat eating plants make up botanical installations throughout
Private dining seats when the space hosts special dinner events