One evening in 2022, the five-person team behind the Chinese restaurant franchise MáLà Project, which has four locations in New York, were indulging in post-shift oysters and martinis when they began discussing their ideal bar. “We knew we wanted something approachable yet sophisticated,” says co-founder Christian Castillo, “and we’re all a bit romantic, so we thought incorporating live jazz would add that dreamy touch.” This month, the group plans to open Only Love Strangers, a bar, jazz lounge and restaurant in a bi-level space in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, a few blocks away from the original MáLà Project. The interiors are retro-futuristic, with a blue and chrome palette that recalls 1960s and ’70s surrealism. In the ground-floor main dining room, a Mediterranean menu features mezzes and seafood towers served under a custom mobile by the Brooklyn artist Max Simon. Next to the dining room is a barroom that envelops guests in floor-to-ceiling cobalt tile with a ceiling painted a matching blue and banquettes upholstered in Verner Panton’s 1969 Optik textile. At a round-edged, aluminum-clad bar, you can order cocktails named for categories of jazz music like the Acid, made with lemon vodka, anise liqueur, basil and citrus. The 55-seat jazz lounge on the lower level, also enrobed in blue, hosts nightly performers. Only Love Strangers opens April 13, onlylovestrangers.com.


See This

For over a decade now, the Polish painter Ewa Juszkiewicz has been recreating portraits of women by painters from the Renaissance era to the 19th century, with one significant intervention: She variously obscures the sitters’ faces with fabric, hairstyles and extravagant arrangements of flowers and foliage. The artist’s subversive approach arose from a desire to disrupt an “idealization of the female image,” she says. Juszkiewicz’s work draws from wide-ranging sources, including the fashions of the Middle Ages and those by contemporary designers like Simone Rocha and Rei Kawakubo. The painter then gathers an assortment of wigs, textiles and old jewelry, builds installations and employs models to serve as references. She paints in a classical European style, using layers of oil paints. The 15 pieces in her new show, “Locks with Leaves and Swelling Buds,” opening at the Palazzo Cavanis in Venice, reimagine works by 18th-century painters like Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun and François Gérard. “I want to challenge existing canons and build my own story based on them,” she says. “Ewa Juszkiewicz: Locks with Leaves and Swelling Buds” is on view at Palazzo Cavanis, Venice, from April 20 through Sept. 1, fabarte.org.


In a forest green-painted corner storefront a few blocks from Brooklyn Bridge Park, just before Cobble Hill gives way to the East River, the team behind the Brooklyn restaurants Oxalis and Place des Fêtes is opening a bakery called Laurel. Starting Friday, visitors will find baguettes and sweet potato Pullman loaves showcased on shelves behind the register, while pastries — flaky escargots stuffed with ramps and Cantal cheese, shiny canelés — await on silver trays. Chef Nico Russell, who oversees the menus at all three places, hired Craig Escalante, whose 12 years of experience includes time at New York’s Bien Cuit, as head baker. At lunchtime, Laurel will offer sandwiches featuring focaccia that Escalante makes using amazake — a liquid made from koji-fermented rice — for added flavor. Danishes are made with mascarpone and blueberries foraged in Maine and Canada by Tama Matsuoka Wong. “She has a gigantic network here on the East Coast, so she’s got access to so much great stuff each season, especially wild blueberries,” Russell says. Other made-in-house specialties include salty half-pound blocks of butter for sale and alternative milks (almond and sunflower) to mix with coffee from the Brooklyn-based roaster Sey. Laurel is geared toward takeaway orders, though there are three tables outside. Those who want to enjoy the bakery’s bread in a sit-down setting can find its sourdough at Place des Fêtes, in Clinton Hill, and toasted sandwiches at the old Oxalis space in Crown Heights, which is scheduled to reopen as an (as yet unnamed) all-day cafe in mid-May. Laurel opens April 12, laurelbakery.com.


Gift This

Frette, the Italian textile company founded in Grenoble, France, in 1860 and now based in Monza, outside of Milan, has long been known as a maker of luxurious linens. The company counts among its clients storied hotels like the Danieli in Venice, New York’s Plaza and London’s Savoy, as well as upward of 500 royal families. Now, Frette has collaborated with the American fashion designer Thom Browne on a 10-piece collection that will be revealed during a performance at this year’s Salone del Mobile, the annual furniture and design fair held in Milan. The designer says the pairing was quite organic, as he’s slept on Frette sheets for over 20 years. The resulting collection includes sheet and duvet sets, a wool blanket and throw, towel sets and a cotton velour bathrobe, all trimmed with four serial bars, an instantly recognizable Thom Browne motif. Some offerings extend beyond the home with cotton terry gym towels and a beach bag, both accented by the house’s other stripy signature, a tripartite band of red, white and blue. The performance, titled “…time to sleep…,” will take place on April 16 in Milan’s late 18th-century Palazzina Appiani, after which the collection will be on view for the remainder of the fair. Browne says the staging will feature Frette-dressed beds and will touch on themes he’s long explored in his runway shows, like multiplication and repetition. “It’s gonna be interesting — maybe it’ll put everybody to sleep!” From $130, thombrowne.com.


Try This

“For so long, I’ve been this underground facialist,” says the aesthetician Cali Strauhs. “People have found me through word-of-mouth, all kind of hush-hush: ‘I have this girl in Chinatown.’” But now, with the opening of Strauhs Studios — still somewhat hidden on the second floor of a TriBeCa office building in which several fashion brands have their showrooms — the beauty expert is giving both old and new clients somewhere to convene for customized treatments that focus on improving and maintaining one’s skin health long-term, addressing underlying issues like acne and inflammatory conditions. “I’ve always felt that there was a divide between the holistic and the scientific,” she says. “And sometimes, in more fluffy facial settings, you’re not really getting results; it’s more an experience. But I want to do both.” This approach is reflected in her space’s clean, calming, somewhat Brutalist interior design — a mirror resting on cinder blocks, gray everywhere — the look of which took inspiration from artists’ lofts and Le Corbusier, the Swiss French architect who died in 1965. His enduring style has also informed Altered States, a massage and wellness place in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, that’s affiliated with the barbershop Persons of Interest and is paneled and painted like Le Corbusier’s famously colorful seaside Cabanon. In addition to offerings like “energy-healing” facials that incorporate reiki and CBD-oil massages, the tiny front boutique sells cute ceramics, nonalcoholic bottled cocktails by Three Spirit and the entire range of hair and skin care products by the Italian line Oway for customers to continue their regimens at home.

Orior, a family-owned design studio, often returns to its Irish roots. Founded in 1979 in Newry, Northern Ireland, by Brian and Rosie McGuigan, it’s now run primarily by their son, Ciarán, with a workshop in Newry and a showroom in New York City. The company works with many of the same artisans it did four decades ago, sourcing materials such as Connemara marble and Irish crystal to build modern credenzas and tables, and producing chairs and sofas in Ireland’s signature green. Orior’s latest collection, Fearn, consists of sculptural planters made from three Irish limestones: Armagh, Kilkenny and Lecarrow, each named for its native city. “Taking these raw blocks of materials that are extracted from the earth in their purest form and reimagining them into a new shape is part of our practice,” Ciarán says. “It’s about mixing materials and introducing curvature and detail.” There are three planter shapes, though each has a stone base that features engraved symbols from the Ogham Irish alphabet (Fearn is the third letter). On top is a hand-sculpted marble basin, meant to resemble centuries-old waystones that were once placed in front of homes to welcome visitors. The Fearn collection will be available from April 15; from $12,250, oriorfurniture.com.


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