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By Mark Robins, Senior Editor The Columbus, The Mensch, The Leo and The Delancey. These are four egg sandwiches from Zucker’s Bagels & Smoked Fish, a well-known bakery in the New York City food scene that also specializes in pastries, homemade spreads, freshpressed juices and smoked fish. Already established in Tribeca and Midtown, the neighborhood bagel shop opened a new location on the Upper West Side to showcase these food items and also its hand-rolled and kettle-boiled authentic New York bagels daily, along with fresh ingredients from local New York vendors. The new bakery is housed on two levels in a landmark building from 1888 on Columbus Avenue around the corner from the fabled Dakota Apartments and Central Park. Its design challenge was to celebrate the original metal features of the late 19th-century building in a way that evokes both the familiar and the new. New York City-based Ricardo Zurita Architecture & Planning (RZAPS) was responsible for this task. “We wanted to preserve a piece of American architectural history while creating continuity between the past and the present; to tell a story through time,” says RZAPS principal Ricardo Zurita.

MIXING OLD AND NEW During the design process, probes revealed longhidden, original, historic architectural metal elements both inside and outside the ground level space that were salvaged and restored for reuse in the space. These heritage features included a decorative pressed tin ceiling, ornate interior castiron columns and a cast-iron storefront exterior. The design challenge was to merge these with contemporary additions such as surfaces and furnishings made of new materials like blackened handcrafted stainless steel and white oak wood.

Bakery Rebaked Innovative interior creates continuity between the past and the present specialized bakery, and to merge these functional

introduces gold as another metal into the overall

requirements with a design esthetic that architectur-

space. Because it is in the historic district, the

ally reinforced the authentically New York gas-

project received approval from the NYC Landmarks

tronomy offered by the establishment,” Zurita says.

Preservation Commission.

“By revealing the historical features of the space and combining them with contemporary materials


and elements that place the activities, and products,

Upon discovering hidden original cast iron and tin

of the bakery in a continuum of time between its

elements, RZAPS introduced blackened steel as a

origins and the present day.”

new material in the space to complement the other

Black subway tile forms the back wall of the service area while the seating area has minimalist

metals and for its decidedly contemporary qualities. “Blackened steel was chosen as the inish to en-

lighting and furnishings. The looring consists of

hance the appearance and to prevent discoloration

and interrelated: to create a layout and design that

a sturdy gray porcelain tile. The interior was even

over time,” says Martin Malek, partner at Rakshan

would accommodate the large amount of equip-

updated with a luminous gold-leaf mural wall by

Malek Associates: RMA Design and Construction,

ment, primarily of stainless steel, required for a

Brooklyn-based artist David Bender that Zurita says

Woodcliff Lake, N.J., the project’s general contrac-

“The design goals for the bakery were twofold

July 2018



design awards tor and metal installer. Metal plates form a free-standing wall in the center of deli and Malek says they are anchored by a condiment and trash bin cabinet. “Also, three vertical brackets fasten the wall to the loor and to align panels with each other,” he adds. “Fasteners join the panels with each other and we chose the newest we could ind.” The steel plates have the advantage of occupying minimal space with low-maintenance requirements, creating a clean esthetic in counterpoint to the intricate historical features. “We believed that the blackened patina inish allows coherence between the old and new metals,” Zurita says. The design and production of the new steel pieces was the result of a close collaboration with New York City-based Ferra Designs Inc., who is known for its high-quality, innovative approach to metal work. Zurita feels the high quality of the new inishes and their minimal, contemporary clean lines juxtaposes the historic features to create a visual palette that is both exciting and inviting. Matt Pomerantz is the owner of the bakery and cofounder of Murray’s Bagels. “[Matt] has taken the same amount of pride with the aesthetics of the build out as he does with his product,” says Robert Ferraroni, president/CEO, of Ferra Designs, the bakery’s furnishings and metal supplier, the project’s fabricator, and also its custom lighting fabricator. “The marriage of high design and well-crafted food is consistent with the Zucker's model.” Ferra Designs and 50A Projects [Ferra’s in-house design studio] designed and built all the metalwork throughout Zucker's. State-of-the-art technology combined with hand-applied inishes creates an unexpected, unique experience for the customer. Ferraroni admits navigating the project’s design ideas within such a small space was challenging. “We embraced the challenge and created seating and tables that bolted to the ground, this contained the aesthetic intent,” he says. To enrich the original metal features, the detailed antiquities were juxtaposed with monolithic, minimalist metal plates such as countertops, a free-standing partition and furniture pieces. Two versions of steel were used: the countertops consisted of stainless steel (the ideal material for food handling) blackened with a patina inish, while all other vertical steel surfaces including the partition walls and furniture legs of the stools and tables consisted of carbon steel, also inished with the dark patina. All steel elements maintained a 3/8-inch thickness to keep the language of the modern pieces monolithic and to read as one clean counterpoint to the detailed heritage pieces. Other materials in the deli were strategically kept in natural tones to provide a neutral backdrop for the new metal elements and the historic features. These materials include the brick wall that was revealed, the aforementioned natural white oak and neutral gray porcelain looring. The storefront panels and door are wood painted black. The result celebrates metal techniques, processes and design across time in a small fragment of American architectural history. Integrating large culinary equipment in the limited space, both in terms of layout and in creating coherence with the historic metal elements, was a challenge. “We decided to introduce steel as the main

Zucker’s Bagels and Smoked Fish Bakery, New York City

new material in the space for its inherent structural, functional and aes-

Completed: January 2017

thetic qualities,” Zurita says. “Steel plates occupy minimal space, hide

Size: 1,800 square feet

the heavy equipment, provide easy-to-maintain surfaces and create

Owner: Matt Pomerantz

a clean aesthetic in counterpoint to the intricate heritage pieces. The

Architects: Ricardo Zurita Architecture & Planning P.C. (RZAPS),

new blackened steel lends a subdued presence to the space, mitigat-

General contractor/metal installer/engineers: Rakshan Malek Associates RMA Design and Construction, Woodcliff Lake, N.J.,

ing a densely programmed space from feeling chaotic and cramped.” Since opening, the bakery is now as well liked by New Yorkers as it is by the Design Award judges; it has become a neighborhood destination. 38


July 2018

Mural artist: David Bender, New York City Furnishings, metal supplier and fabricator, and custom lighting fabrication: Ferra Designs Inc., New York City,, Circle #50

Profile for RZAPS

Metal Architecture 2018 Design Awards  

Read the story behind our project, Zucker's Bagels & Smoked Fish Bakery, which received the Metal Architecture 2018 Design Award for Interio...

Metal Architecture 2018 Design Awards  

Read the story behind our project, Zucker's Bagels & Smoked Fish Bakery, which received the Metal Architecture 2018 Design Award for Interio...

Profile for rzaps