Following a stint operating a gelato shop in Athens, siblings Ilias and Veneta Iliopoulos decided to open their own spot in Manhattan’s East Village. And they enlisted the help of local architect Nicholas Karytinos of Tacet Creations to craft the interior.
To create the chic space with a beach hut vibe, Karytinos clad Fresco Gelateria’s walls in lightly distressed white oak planks and inserted low, layered ceilings, in the same material, with slots that filter light; the overall effect recalls the way light-dappled water can be seen through the boards of seaside docks. Additional lighting is provided by New York’s Lightexture, whose perforated clay pendants hover above the gelato and espresso bar and seated areas, adding a dash of whimsy.
Built-in benches made of reclaimed wood from Coney Island’s boardwalk snake along a nook adjacent to the entrance, and along the wall opposite the bar and cash desk. Furnishings are kept to a minimum, with small bistro tables dotting the seated areas. The gritty concrete floors appear as though a band of beach goers just shook out their towels, but this laid-back feel is contrasted by the curving white service counter – a hit of minimalist-mod that appeals to city dwellers.
Relaxed and inviting, the interior shares the spotlight with the main attraction: gelato in such offbeat flavours as goat cheese, rosewater and salted caramel.