A warm, spicy scent engulfs the senses as you walk through the door of Kinfolk 94 Wythe, the menswear store just one door down from its well-loved sister bar in Williamsburg, New York. At the back of the store, beyond rows of freshly hung designer threads is a honeycomb-like wall that invites closer inspection. A doorway leads out into a short corridor and the source of that entrancing spice: a new bar and live music space housed inside a looming geodesic dome-inspired structure made entirely of California cedar and Douglas fir. These are the trees that surrounded Kinfolk founders Maceo McNeff and Ryan Carney when they were growing up in the Pacific Northwest. Children of the hippie generation, they wanted to build something that would appeal to their parents’ free-living outlook on life, referencing a popular architectural style in the alternative living experiments of the 1960s and ’70s. The space’s many communal areas, including a sunken sitting area referred to as the “conversation pit,” speak to that philosophy, as does the extensive use of natural materials.
McNeff and Carney didn’t just want to create a vision of home, though. They also had dreams of creating something fantastical that would set imaginations alight. That much is certain: walking into the space is like stumbling onto another planet. All arches, curves and dramatic lines, the dome sends light dancing through it in a striking reminder of the impact that physical space can have on the psyche, instead of feeling boxed in the mind is allowed to wander. During the day, the intricate architecture is laid bare for everyone to admire, but when night comes the shadows cast create pockets of intimacy, perfect for soaking up that sweet, sweet cedar with someone special.