DOWNTOWN WITHNICK POE
Architectural designer, visual artist and restaurateur Nick Poe grew up in NYC, a shortwalk from where he now lives and works near Bowery. He took us (and his dog, Fido) to a few of the supply shops he relies on to create his utilitarian design aesthetic, which can be seen everywhere from restaurants to private residences to gallery shows.
“There are so many nooks and crannies around the city I love—Washington Mews, a street just north of Washington Square Park, is like an old-world time capsule in the middle of everything, but it’s also easy to miss.”
I’ve always had a fascination with vacant spaces and lofts,even before I got into design work. I would set up viewings to get into the buildings and take photos, and built up a collection of images. In New York, space is the ultimate luxury, and lofts are a celebration of space and openness.
WITH NICK POE
How does light factor into your design sensibility?
NP: I think a lot about ways to bring natural light into spaces. There are ways to do it with mirrors and reflective surfaces to channel light down like shafts. Growing up in a loft with skylights really influenced me.
Any tips on how to make a room feel more open and spacious?
NP: Mirrors go a long way—in the right location it really works. We have a mirror next to a window at our restaurant, and mirrors between the windows and ceiling to extend the space. White or off-white ceilings and walls make a space feel bigger in residential settings. I usually prefer a darker floor for a more grounded feel.
Tell us your feelings about light fixtures.
NP: It’s really hard to get a good one! I use standard porcelain light fixtures all the time because they’re inexpensive and inoffensive. I always use dimmers—I like the antique European look of push-button dimmers which also give you a lot of control over the brightness. I’ve been thinking about the graphic designer Tibor Kalman—he had a philosophy of “high or low but not in between,” and that’s how I approach lighting.
In design, like in many industries, it’s about how you makesomething—not the cost. There’s a whole world of inexpensive materials that are really beautiful. It’s a celebration of resourcefulness that shows there doesn’t have to be a correlation between high quality and a high price.
SHOP NICK’S LOOKS
Wallace & Barnes wool-blend work jacket with PrimaLoft®
Classic Straight-fit jean
Heritage 14 oz. fleece hoodie
Nordic sherpa fleece jacket in paisley
New Balance® 2002R sneakers
Wallace & Barnes terrain cargo pant
Franconia parka with PrimaLoft
Heritage 14 oz. fleece sweatshirt
Ludlow topcoat in Irish wool herringbone