A Cultural Hub for Car Lovers, Lexus’s New Intersect Space in New York Merges Gourmet Cuisine With Top-Gear Design
Located in the Meatpacking District, the luxurious space is the new destination for auto fans who want to rev up their cultural side, too.
Furthering its evolution from pure automaker to international lifestyle brand, Lexus has opened a stylish new clubhouse in New York City.
Called Intersect by Lexus, the cultural hub—located in Manhattan’s fashion-forward Meatpacking District—presents a different side of the Japanese company beyond its bread-and-butter engineering.
The space will primarily showcase innovative approaches to food, fashion, and fine art, while emphasizing the company’s dedication to high-level service. “It’s what we call omotenashi—treating every customer like a guest in our home,” explained Kirk Edmondson, Lexus’s general manager for the location. “There are certain things that you will experience here that you would also experience at a dealership. But then, the side of the brand that’s into fashion, design, the culinary arts, and all of that, you might not necessarily recognize.”
Lexus appears to have spared no expense in constructing the three-level space, hiring famed Japanese interior designer Masamichi Katayama of Wonderwall, Inc. to outfit the setting in fine materials like black and white marble, stainless steel, bamboo, and leather. The build-out took about three years.
At first glance, the venue doesn’t seem to have anything to do with cars, as automatic entry doors usher in newcomers off the street into a vast, gleaming lobby like that of a designer boutique hotel, with minimalist furnishings and modern fixtures throughout. A display case on the right features an array of goods by Lexus-curated artisans, while a sleek cafe counter to the left serves up espresso, pour-over coffees, gourmet pastries, and pressed sandwiches. In the back is a brightly lit gallery, presently exhibiting fashionable garments made from eco-friendly materials.
But upon closer inspection, the overall design includes many nods to automobiles, some more subtle than others. A circular bar in the second-floor lounge area obviously references the wheel, while bamboo window blinds are meant to evoke Lexus’s trademark spindle grille. Tucked away near the restrooms is a colorful collection of more than 1,100 miniature die-cast cars, including one depicting the smiling face of Akio Toyoda, president of Lexus’s parent company, the Toyota Motor Corporation.
The most eye-catching element, however, is a giant wall of jumbled auto parts, powder-coated in white, located in the middle of the space. The two-story installation, which stands 26 feet high and 13 feet wide, includes pieces of 11 different Lexus models, including the original LS sedan, which debuted in the United States back in 1989. The various components are stacked chronologically, from the oldest at the bottom to the newest up top, and mounted onto 15 separate panels, all originally assembled in Japan. Combined, the installation weighs about 5,500 pounds.
The impressive display of mechanicals is meant to demonstrate that “a car is art,” Edmondson said. Its central location in the space, meanwhile, signals that while Lexus supports all kinds of artistic endeavors, the company’s heart—and pride—resides in its automotive excellence.
The New York space is the third such Intersect by Lexus location globally, following previous openings in Tokyo in 2013 and Dubai in 2015. (Each location includes a similar auto-part display.) It is also the largest of the group, with three floors spanning 16,500 square feet—four times the size of the Tokyo location, according to Edmondson. And it’s the only one to feature a full-service fine-dining restaurant, with table seating for 42, a private dining area for 12, and an eight-seat chef’s counter offering an up-close look into the open kitchen.
Every four months, the restaurant will feature a new menu created by a guest chef-in-residence brought in from different parts of the world. The first is Gregory Marchand of the acclaimed Frenchie restaurants in Paris and London, whose offerings include a salt-crusted pork and a foie gras terrine made with pastrami. Two other chefs have already been selected to follow in Marchard’s footsteps, but they won’t be named until a later date.
The entire food and beverage program is being overseen by renowned restaurateur Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group, which also runs acclaimed restaurants at several of the city’s most beloved art institutions, including the Museum of Modern Art and Whitney Museum of American Art.
New Yorkers who are accustomed to those other venues may find a different dining experience at Intersect, where the line between restaurant and exhibition space is less clearly defined.
“It’s meant to ebb and flow a lot more seamlessly,” said Dylan Shipsey, Union Square Hospitality Group’s general manager for the site. “You can take your coffee upstairs, you can interact with the space a lot more.”
He added: “But the proof is in the pudding. I encourage you to walk around the floors and experience it for yourself.”
Intersect by Lexus-NYC, 412 W. 14th St., New York, NY, 10014; intersect-nyc.com
Follow Artnet News on Facebook:
Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.