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A Foodie Instagrammer's Paradise: De Maria

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Does your beautiful Sunday brunch count if you don’t post it on social media? That is of course silly. You don’t need to instagram all your meals, but nevertheless, it’s a lot of fun. Plus, a restaurant with a warm, impeccably designed environment, and beautifully plated, homemade Tahini yogurt with a side of flaxseed-covered banana bread can be an incredibly inspiring experience.

To provide some #foodporn inspiration, we had a chat with the MP Shift team. They’re the designers behind one of our favorite spots in NY, De Maria.

How would you describe De Maria’s Environment?

We wanted to create a space where guests felt inclined to stay awhile. The Nolita neighborhood is known for its community of artists, and we wanted to reflect that in the atmosphere, having the restaurant feel like a laid back artist’s space.

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“Our inspirations were Bauhaus meets Donald Judd, both rely heavily on the use of primary color.”

We love the bold pop of colors used throughout the restaurant. Where did the inspiration for the color scheme come from?

Our inspirations were Bauhaus meets Donald Judd, both rely heavily on the use of primary color.

There are some beautiful art pieces throughout the restaurant, especially the neon Virgin Mary piece.  How do you all go about collecting your art and where did you find the Virgin Mary portrait?

The installation of tiles behind the bar was inspired by a visit to Donald Judd’s residence in Soho. It was the perfect way to bring the colors forward in a Bauhaus style. The Virgin Mary portrait was designed by co-collaborator Grace Lee and art director Nikki Brand. They drew inspiration from artist Walter De Maria and the meaning of De Maria‘s name in Latin: “by Mary, from Mary.” We love to collaborate with artist friends on our projects and the geometric wall hangings were produced by Dylan Dylan [@DylanDylan], an artist friend of The MP Shift.

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Can you tell us a little bit more about MP Shift?

It’s a New York-based concept, design and branding studio working primarily on hospitality and lifestyle spaces & brands. Co-founders Amy Morris and Anna Polonsky are the creative directors on all MP Shift projects and they worked with a team of artists and fabricators to bring the De Maria vision to life.

Are there any reoccurring themes throughout the restaurant interior?

The Bauhaus is a recurring influence and is reflected in the shapes and colors of the space.

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The chairs, stools, and tables are so inviting and seem to encourage communal eating. Who furnished the restaurant and how did you go about selecting the pieces?

The MP Shift sourced all the furnishings. Covering the tables in leather, in the primary color palette, creates an immediate warmth. Mixing in vintage cafe chairs creates that inviting, lived-in feel. 

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Are there any custom furnished or special pieces within the restaurant?

The banquette is a custom piece by The MP Shift, and although it’s not the most talked about piece, it’s key in creating an inviting room.  By installing a custom designed banquette, we started to create different environments and vibes – as if you’re moving through a room. We love the rounded oval legs, without really noticing they bring warmth to the space.

The sconces are semi-custom! The brass cans were supposed to be attached to the wall like a headlight. We only realized that once we received them, and it was not the look we wanted, so we came up with the idea of adding the white wood brackets, then we we could hang the lights the way we felt it would look best. Cedar+Moss, the makers of these lights, loved this solution!


To learn more about MP Shift, check out their website here.

De Maria is located 19 Kenmare Street in the Lower East Side. Visit their website here.


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