Inspired by fire, wine, and nourishment – the first things that brought people together – Chleo boils hospitality down to its roots, offering unparalleled service and a second home for a growing neighborhood.
Aiming to shift the status quo and create a more equitable and sustainable future, the client’s objective for their first self-owned restaurant in Kingston, NY was to offer the experience of fine dining while stripping away the formality, structure, and elitism that makes it hard to reach. Their mission extended in celebrating the bounty and people of the Hudson Valley, in an effort to connect with the land and those who cultivate it.
To support this, we sought to create a space that fosters genuine human connections and memorable experiences with a giving spirit. The restaurant is meant to serve as a diplomatic space for people to reconnect and appreciate the simple joys of a beautiful meal; a respite that pulls cues from Hudson Valley’s life-giving environs and traditions of craftsmanship.
For the interior design visioning, we went back to where we started – the hearth – which has long stood as the cornerstone of a home, fostering togetherness. With meticulously considered design, we transformed a forlorn space into moments of discovery through the story of fire. A dark open kitchen against a pale grey limewash nods to the nuanced idea of charred ash and plumes of smoke from a cooling flame – the presence of gatherings past. Carefully placed mirrors animate the energy and flame of the kitchen, no matter where you’re sitting. Foraged and dried seasonal ingredients hang on display and find their way on your plate, offering an intimate connection to the pleasures of Hudson Valley bounty. Hand-carved wood detailing proudly displays the irregularities of spalted maple harvested less than 100 miles away. Every detail of the space is meant to draw you in, create conversation, and provide an experience that could only exist on that particular corner of Kingston.
Beyond aesthetics, we were inspired by the chef’s unrelenting commitment to honest sustainability, and saw an opportunity to usher in a new and better era at a human scale. The project bears regional materials and products to form a hyper-localized space; by sourcing through local means, we not only created a space full of nostalgic materials and familiar forms, but worked to amplify the voices of Hudson Valley’s artists, florists, and makers to create a unique sense of renewability within the community.
Chleo is a testament to collaboration, conversation, and discovery; an idiosyncratic vessel for expression and innovation, made by and for the locals. Anticipating the needs of a modern era, the spirit of the restaurant believes that a brightly prepared meal and the place with which you enjoy it go far beyond the visual or the taste. It’s something you can feel.