Bad Roman Restaurant

Bad Roman is a playful, layered, and maximalist Italian restaurant by GRT Architects, with a focus on an open bar, unique spaces, and rich, varied materials, textures, shapes, and colors.

GRT Architects was hired by Quality Branded to create Bad Roman, a playful, layered and maximalist Italian restaurant located in Columbus Circle. The same team previously created Don Angie the Michelin-starred West Village favorite whose design combined equal measures of Italian and Italian American aesthetics.

Bad Roman overlooks Central Park from the third floor of the Time Warner Center, a location it rebels from a little bit. Where The Shops at Columbus Circle are politely elegant, Bad Roman is a riot of rich and varied materials, textures, found objects, shapes and color. We conceived the 6,500 square foot space as primarily open where all guests have views out to the park and in, to a dramatic bar which centers the room. The bar is crowned with an exuberant light box clad in marble, mirror and cast glass, creating an inviting glow beneath it. The bar’s organic shape is one of several we used to create different moods within the primarily open space. Others include a suite of freeform banquette islands which accommodate parties of all sizes in formats that range from pullmans to hollywoods to bar height seating. We made these islands into worlds unto themselves, incorporating textured plaster cladding, assemblages of found objects and segmented upholstery in a family of orange fabrics. We created unique spaces at either end of the one hundred sixty foot long restaurant including two private dining rooms to the west and a fully glazed room to the east, each with their own decorative language. Minimal it is not, but the design of Bad Roman is unified by a high level of handcraft, and a say-yes-to-all-beautiful-materials attitude. Locally blown glass light fixtures, trompe l’oeil mosaics, 19th century fragments and intricate tilework all collude to create an exuberant home for Bad Roman’s fresh take on modern Italian.

Design: GRT Architects
Photography: Christian Harder