The Visionary: Laureen Barber, Design Director/Co-Owner at Blue Hill & Blue Hill Stone Barns
It would be enough to design a world-famous restaurant, especially if that restaurant went on to receive countless awards. But what if that restaurant had a mission to educate diners about the ethics and origins of what appears on their plate? And what if it served expensive, supremely high-concept food? What if your task as a designer was to create a visual narrative to introduce and support those missions—which evolve, driven by Dan Barber, one of the world’s most progressive chefs?
This is the challenge that faces Laureen Barber, Chef Dan Barber’s sister-in-law and (with her husband, David) one of the trio of Barbers behind Blue Hill at Stone Barns. In her role as design director, she oversees everything—with the exception of food—that diners experience during a visit: Her influence touches architecture, interior design, lighting, web design, and tableware. It is her work, not Dan’s, that visitors see and feel first.
When we spoke, Barber was overseeing the pop-up of Blue Hill’s WastEd project in London; she was painstakingly creating an entire restaurant, from lights to floors, from salvaged materials—all on the roof of Selfridge’s department store.
“Dan works incredibly fast, and he’s always interested in doing something new. WastEd is the perfect example: He’s challenging himself, he’s challenging everybody. He’s our biggest challenge.”
Blue Hill at Stone Barns | 630 Bedford Rd., Pleasantville