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Tao Downtown

Mixing found treasures with bespoke features
Rockwell Group designers created a vocabulary that references several Asian cultures and combines curated artifacts with new custom pieces.

The result is a space that feels like a recently discovered tomb, and is gritty enough for its downtown location. “We wanted to create the feel of a New York cellar space that had always been there,” Sullivan says.

Many elements—including thick, carved stone columns from Bali and antique statues, furniture, and art pieces—were collected by design team members on visits to Asia, under the sourcing team of Artisan Asia .

Rockwell Group designed most of the light fixtures, from beaded-tassel pendants within INK Bar to oversized, lantern-like pendants set within wire cages that hang throughout the main dining room and mitigate the scale of its high ceiling, made by artisans in Bali.

While many elements within TAO Downtown reference the ancient, the project marks a significant shift in branding for its owner.
According to Wolf, “We wiped the slate clean, and together with Rockwell Group, created something fresh, sexy, and breathtakingly beautiful.”

TAO Downtown
Designer: Rockwell Group
Client: TAO Group
Where: New York
What: 22,000 total square feet on two floors

Artisan Asia’s Products Highlights

  • Lava Stone statues from Java – A long entry procession heightens drama and builds anticipation for patrons
  • The main dining room 2 large Buddhas and features a grand staircase that incorporates seating
  • Huge Outdoor Pots
  • Brass light fixtures in the INK Bar
  • Brass sitting Buddhas, furnishings that mitigate the scale of the large space.