Within the heart of Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, the Light Group’s newest, the Citizens Kitchen and Bar, is an Americana diner that’s both approachable and refined. Designed by Alessandro Munge, managing partner of Toronto-based Munge Leung, Citizens takes its inspiration from the patrons that fill the restaurant.
“When the Light Group told us the name of the project, that set the stage for our inspiration,” says Munge. “The people or the citizens were the inspiration, so we put images of everyday activity on the walls-art, fashion, and everyday hard-working real families.”
Metal-framed photos add to a subtle metallic theme, while pewter and muted metal detail the wall décor and lighting. Antique mirrors replace the former moldings. The result is “contemporary with a traditional twist on a modern day diner,” says Munge.
Elsewhere within the 6,787-square-foot space (formerly Red, White, and Blue restaurant), Munge dressed some walls in walnut wood done in a warm white gray wash, and others in beveled hunter green high-gloss tile, “which helps warm up the space,” Munge adds. “We wanted to space to feel fresh and alive, yet warm for dinner service.”
At the entrance, the design’s modernity is obvious in the bold sign. Exclaiming “Citizens,” the sign is constructed from Broadway theater-style light bulbs above the preexisting glass frontage. All capped letters and a small star above the ‘I’ remind diners of the proximity of the casino. Lit below, the 56-capacity outer patio contrasts modern black lacquer railings with eight lampposts.
The highlight: “all the custom light fixtures,” says Munge. Vintage-style Edison lights and metallic-toned fixtures warmly illuminate the space. “They were designed by us literally on a napkin and collaborated with our top lighting supplier local to Toronto,” adds Munge.
Citizens’ vintage appeal extends to the banquette-style seating-detailed with buttons and stitching-and to the redesigned take-out counter displaying pastries and sandwiches.
“We managed to connect the old with the new,” says Munge. “The [design] and its textures were really inspired by the people and I think that’s why people connect to the space.”