A charming conversation on design took place at Delorenzo Gallery with Michael Chow of Mr. Chow restaurants. Here are some notes on the event!
Delorenzo Gallery on the Upper East Side, famous for its attention to decorative objects and furnishings, hosted this past week an intimate conversation with Mr. Chow founder Michael Chow. Chow spoke about his experiences as a collector of fine objects, and how he managed to inject this appreciation into the design of his restuarant. His energy was exciting and fun. The conversation revealed his passion for the subject, as he indulged guests in his expansive understanding of Chinese art and art deco objects, counting Eileen Gray as a major influence and a friend. Chow has always sustained a great sense of pride in the Chinese nation; his restaurants seek to uplift and activate the fine Chinese sense, not the Americanized, dirt cheap Chinese menu many are so used to.
Economically, it’s an interesting approach. Japanese food is among the most expensive in the city, but the Japanese as a culture feel distant and unrelatable, which is an apparent stop to the logic that once settled, food becomes inexpensive. But the Japanese never really ‘settled’ in the United States, and those that did, particularly at the time of World War II found themselves in a bit of a cultural bind. Consider fine Italian food, plentiful and easily replicable. The Italian people settled broadly in the United States, making the food easy to access. So why did the Chinese not get the same treatment? The Chinese settled, but a haute approach to dining didn’t reach them until Mr. Chow.
Guests in attendance included Mary-Kate Olsen and her new husband as well as many art collectors and designers.