Triple Ingenuity

Through the cunning use of basic materials, Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis creates three stunning restaurants.

In the past eight years the partners of Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis (LTL) have specialized in transforming unremarkable, even derelict spaces in old buildings into interior wonders. This knack for reinventing space, and often pitching in to help build it, has made their firm one of the most innovative in New York. LTL’s newest projects—Fluff, a bakery and coffee shop, and Xing, a Chinese restaurant, both in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan; and Tides, a seafood eatery on the Lower East Side—are all located in narrow tenement buildings. “With small interiors, everything is a possible site for invention,” says Paul Lewis, who runs the firm with his twin brother, David, and Marc Tsurumaki. “Because there’s not much there, we’re literally examining everything.”

Whenever I bumped into Paul last winter, it seemed as if he had just finished installing a custom light fixture or sanding a wall. One time I called and he was assembling the bamboo-skewer ceiling for Tides. “I actually have glue all over my hands,” he confessed. The trio of 39-year-olds insists that there’s no job they won’t take on for fear of difficulty. “We’re opportunists,” David says. “Sometimes we use these complications to drive the project’s design.”

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