June 16, 2020 By Madeleine Luckel Architectural Digest
“I got a call and I was like, ‘I’ve been waiting for this call my whole life,’” AD100 designer Ken Fulk tells AD PRO. Fulk is recalling the day when real estate investor Aby Rosen rang to see if he would be interested in re-envisioning the Cloud Club, the iconic lunch spot that historically perched atop Manhattan’s Chrysler Building, which Rosen had then just purchased. “For many of us, it’s the most beautiful building on the New York skyline.”
That belief inspired Fulk to “swing for the fences” while creating his own design, which is set to open in early 2021. Pieces plucked from the Chrysler Building’s attic provided ample fodder for creative inspiration. The resulting interior is historical in its glass and metal details yet new and relevant. It’s intentionally beautiful, with terraces that possess “heart-stopping” views. “I promise it will be a wow and I promise not to disappoint,” says Fulk, who made sure to handle every conceivable detail, from the restaurant’s graphics to the servers’ uniforms.
Finishing touches aside, for Fulk, the story of this project goes way back. “People ask, ‘Did you ever think you’d work on the Chrysler Building?’ And the answer is, sort of, yes,” Fulk says. “Dreams come true, and this is something I’ve long dreamed about. I always had these illusions of grandeur, as my mother would say.”
More recently, the vision for this specific commission began to germinate thanks to a serendipitous moment. “I was on a flight, as I was four to five days a week until we entered this [period],” Fulk explains. The designer happened to look out his window and see a particularly “breathtaking” skyscape filled with sun-kissed clouds, and quickly snapped a handful of photos on his iPhone. “The story [for the Cloud Club] really began with those photos,” Fulk says. “We literally pulled the colors out of the images—these amazing iridescent pinks and blues and golds and silvers. It felt like you were in the clouds, and I thought, This is it.”
Next year, when visitors are able to enter the eagle-topped building and glide up through one of its many unique elevators, the fruits of Fulk’s labors will become clear. He knows that this is a rare opportunity to make a small impact on New York. As the designer says, he wanted to “create what will hopefully be one of the most beautiful rooms in the world.”