Design Destination: The Ken Fulk Touch At Carbone In Las VegasAuthor:Abigail Stone
When Mario Carbone, Rich Torrisi, and Jeff Zalaznick of Major Food Group which own Carbone in New York (as well as Parma, Dirty French, Santina and Sadelle’s) decided to open a Las Vegas branch of their popular Italian restaurant in Las Vegas, they called on San Francisco-based interior design Ken Fulk to work his magic. “I already knew we were kindred spirits from working on Sadelle’s,” says Fulk, “so when it came to Carbone we knew we had the same references: the Rat Pack era, the old swagger of Vegas, the idea of the waiter in the red velvet suit and that table side showmanship.” The exterior entrance replicates the neon sign from the Sullivan Street location.
“Carbone is all about the love of midcentury Italian-American dining,” says Fulk. Taking a cue from the restaurant’s NY location, it puts a Las Vegas sheen on the design. “We took its strengths and amplified them. We were very aware of not making some weird carbon copy, but I did want to reference the feeling of it.” The restaurant’s private dining room can be curtained off for privacy. Its three chandeliers are vintage Murano and are from the ’60s.
“So often in Vegas you go into these behemoth restaurants that are just massive. They don’t feel intimate and they don’t have what I call human scale so with this we really strived to do that,” Fulk explains. The restaurant is an interconnected series of smaller spaces: an intimate entryway, its walls covered in Fortuny fabric; the lively blue room; the theatrical red room; and, the intimate private dining room. “It’s meant to be an elevated experience, a glamorous sibling to the NY restaurant.” The subway tiles in the blue room are custom-colored Carbone Blue. The black and white tiled floor is inspired by the pool at the old Sands Hotel.
“The whole idea, especially for the red room, is La Scala, the opera house. There are banquettes that can be curtained off all around the room.” The room’s centerpiece is its chandelier. “It’s from a Ferrari dealership in Philadelphia that was destroyed. I call it the croquembouche. We built the room around it because it’s so big. We had to literally go down into the banquettes because that was the only way it would fit. The booths around it are all attached to one another and everyone is looking at one another and it’s really a show, it’s theatrical.”
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