Eating together at Tanám

The hybrid restaurant and performance art space is designed to amplify the everyday rituals of eating and conversing by extending the dining timeline to let the stories of the strangers around the table unfold. A single table serves as a shared plate and a platform for narratives of immigration, race, gender, culture, and delight in the world.

Two experimental dining spaces, both designed in 2019 and located next to each other in a mid-block courtyard, explore the rituals of eating together in 21st century American culture. Tanám extends the dining timeline to let the stories of the strangers at the table unfold; Saus plays with the sometimes anonymous experience of the American diner counter and the question of eating in public, alone.

At Tanám a gauzy curtain wraps the room, creating an intimate and enclosed space apart from the world beyond. Indirect perimeter lighting transforms the curtain, acting as theater scrim, into a soft but opaque surface during performance and dining events. Deep portal-like openings are the only interruption in the curtained perimeter. Framed in a matte solid surface and lined with color-changing linear LED strips at their limits, their depth selectively defines and connects the activities of the kitchen and bar — also seen as performance — to the space of cultural narrative and eating together. A digital projector and retractable ceiling mounted screen allow the hosts to supplement the stories that accompany the dining experience with visual content.

Elizabeth Christoforetti, Ningxin Cheng, and Nathan Fash. Lighting by Lam Partners. Photography by Jane Messinger and Rita Tinega. Construction by Supernormal.