Design Bureaux - Company Overview

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Design Bureaux
Design Bureaux Inc. is an inventive design studio focused on creating hospitality, retail, and residential projects of the highest quality.  We take a fresh approach to every assignment, working without preconceived ideas or a house style, resulting in uniquely custom tailored results.  Beginning with intensive exploration of the culture, history, needs and desires of the client and projected audience we work to establish a narrative vision celebrating the unique character of each project.   Space, form, and finish work in unison with everything from the grandest spatial gesture to the smallest detail relating the project narrative. Contemporary interpretations of relevant cultural and historic elements are layered throughout adding richness and discovery to the guest experience.
How one interacts with a place becomes a fundamental part of the design concept be it an unexpected spatial adjacency, a carved out view, circulation through spaces that are typically “back stage”, or unique seating configurations stimulating social interaction we seek opportunities to orchestrate new and memorable experiences for occupants and guests.  
The results of our approach are poetic, timeless and humane environments with a depth of character and a certain panache that continues to surprise and delight long after the first experience and are appropriately suited to those who will ultimately live, work and recreate in the realized environments.

Design Bureaux is an unprecedented three time winner and five time finalist of the prestigious James Beard award for Outstanding Restaurant Design, with awards for Blackbird, Avec and The Publican.

Brief overview of work at MGM National Harbor
Just as with the Voltaggio brothers cooking, the design at Voltaggio Brothers Steak House is grounded on timeless tradition with a contemporary flair to create future classics.  Drawing inspiration from the rich culture of the area, the design uses historic details such as crown moldings, ornate ceilings, built-in shelving, woodwork and hardwood floors to create the environment of a traditional home.  Layered within this environment is a variety of contemporary furnishings such as upholstered sofa seating, unique tables, chandeliers, drapery and feature finishes capturing the inviting comfort of the home with a dash of elegance and panache.  Each space is given its own unique identity based on a different room of the home, yet just as in a home there will be an overall unity and a sense of place. 

The guest will have the choice of dining in various surroundings reflecting the personality of the rooms of a home. From the moment you enter you will be greeted by the warmth and generosity of your hosts.  From the grand living room identified by the sofa like seating and floor to ceiling drapery to the dining room evoking the formal elegance of fine china to a more relaxed dining experience in the family room to the eat-in kitchen with its exposed pantries and nook seating.  Each room will have vantage points looking onto the working hearth and kitchen. Masterfully crafted architectural archways will create open room to room connections simultaneously allowing for visual connections while establishing more intimately scaled spaces.  Curated artifacts and vignette moments will be created using photos and personal artifacts such as stacked books, photos, artwork and throw pillows giving depth to each room.  Each room will provide the patron with a unique experience providing a sense of discovery and instilling the desire to return again and again.

Key Awards
James Beard Award for Outstanding Restaurant Design
Design Bureaux is an unprecedented three time winner and five time finalist of the prestigious James Beard award for Outstanding Restaurant Design, with awards for Blackbird, Avec and The Publican.

2012 Outstanding Restaurant Design Award finalist for DBGB in New York City
2009 Outstanding Restaurant Design Award for The Publican in Chicago
2009 Outstanding Restaurant Design Award finalist for  Bar Boulud in New York City
2005 Outstanding Restaurant Design Award for Avec in Chicago
2002 Outstanding Restaurant Design Award for Blackbird in Chicago
Hospitality Design Award
2011 Finalist Best Casual Restaurant Design for Má Pêche in New York City
2010 Award Best Casual Restaurant Design for DBGB in New York City
Other Major Projects
Lena Brava-6,000sf restaurant in Chicago for chef Rick Bayless’ Frontera Hospitality Group
Cruz Blanca- 6,000sf micro brewery and restaurant in Chicago for chef Rick Bayless’ Frontera Hospitality Group
Epicerie Boulud – 2,500sf market at the NYC World Trade Center for chef Daniel Boulud’s Dinex Group
Santina – 3,600sf restaurant in New York for chefs Rich Torisi & Mario Carbone of Major Food Group
Andiron – 8,600sf restaurant in Las Vegas for Blau + Associates
DBGB DC – 8,000sf restaurant in Washington, DC for chef Daniel Boulud’s Dinex Group
The Gander – 4,500sf restaurant in New York for chef Jesse Schenker
Parm – Roll out 5 restaurants in New York for chefs Rich Torisi & Mario Carbone of Major Food Group
The James Hotel Chicago – interior renovation of lobby & lobby bar for Denihan Hospitality Group
Jimmy Chicago – lounge inside The James Hotel Chicago for Denihan Hospitality Group
Serpico – 2,500sf restaurant in Philadelphia for chef Peter Serpico and Stephen Starr of Starr Restaurants
MaPeche & Milk Bar- 5,000sf restaurant and retail in New York for chef David Chang’s Momofuku Group
David Burke Kitchen – 5,000sf restaurant in New York \ for chef David Burke & Denihan Hospitality
Jimmy – 2,500sf lounge in New York for Denihan Hospitality Group
Boulud Sud – 4,300sf restaurant and market in New York for chef Daniel Boulud’s Dinex Group
Shinsagea Flagship Store– 20,000sf food market and dining complex in Seoul, Korea
Publican Quality Meats – 4,000sf market in Chicago for chef Paul Kahan and One Off Hospitality
Henriot Champagne- 5,000sf tasting room and offices in New York
Shinsagea SSG – 35,000sf food market and dining complex in Seoul, Korea, and a second in Busan
Project Team Leaders
Thomas Schlesser, Principal
Thomas Schlesser formally founded Design Bureaux in 2006.  A celebrated designer with over 25 years of experience in Architectural, Interior and Product Design he has been responsible for an extremely diverse range of projects that have provided him with breadth and depth of experience in hospitality, retail, office, and residential projects. Gaining a culturally diverse perspective from having lived and worked in urban settings around the globe he blends his experience and interests to create fresh yet timeless results.  Prior to opening Design Bureaux he held the position of Senior Associate at KPF in New York where he was Senior Designer on several large scale projects including Jing An Shangri-La Hotel in Shanghai‎, Mohegan Sun Hotel and Casino in Connecticut, Samsung World Headquarters in Seoul, and tour CB16 in Paris.  Before this he was Design Director at Niedermaier in Chicago and Senior Designer at Din Associates in London where he was focused on retail and residential work.
Claire Schlesser, Creative Director
Claire Schlesser has been with Design Bureaux since its inception. As Creative Director she brings these years of experience in shaping the concept and approach of the design projects. Her expertise in culinary history and culture brings depth to her hospitality work while her background in film making gives her a unique perspective on interior design and visual arts. Prior to Design Bureaux she worked in the film industry specializing in cinematography and production on independent films in New York and Chicago.

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