A former protégé of Philippe Starck, interior designer Patrick Jouin has redesigned a restaurant and bar he created 10 years ago at the Plaza Athénée in France.
Jouin, of the Jouin Manku Agency, has built up an international reputation for his unique blend of design and interior architecture.
He is best known for a string of restaurant interiors for chef Alain Ducasse, including the design and fit out of the bar and restaurant at the Plaza Athénée in Paris, the signature project that brought him worldwide acclaim.
The hotel opened in Paris in 1913 and has 191 rooms, including 45 suites, with panoramic views of the Eiffel Tower, and Montmartre.
It was a favourite meeting place for the grand masters of music, composers and performers, and its Galerie des Gobelins and Relais restaurant housed the most popular stars of the time including Josephine Baker, Rudolph Valentino and Maurice Chevalier.
In 1947, Christian Dior opened up a shop in Avenue Montaigne, near the hotel, which started a whole new era establishing itself as the avenue for haute couture.
The Plaza Athénée was the luxury venue for fashion and art, from Grace Kelly, Gary Cooper and Jackie Kennedy to the Ford family.
When it was renovated in 2001, Ducasse chose Jouin to take his Plaza Athénée gastronomic restaurant to new heights of entertaining with its Louis XV style. For its 10th anniversary, he invited the designer to return to his creation to take it back to basics, adding a few touches that emphasise its spirit.
“We must start from the beginning where the true tastes are and let them express strength and delicacy. The technique is to reveal the flavour of nature,” said Ducasse.
The most spectacular addition is the covering of the four large screens in unique pieces of embroidery. Garlic, mushroom, artichoke — the graphic designs pay homage to the cuisine and to the produce. It took a whole team more than one year to make them.
Stefan Glass used the Müller workshop near Nuremberg, to cut the pieces of satin and leather with high precision machinery.
Then Sébastien Barilleau from the Cécile Henri workshop in Paris, added the beads, sequins, tubes rock pearls using a traditional “Lunéville” technique (the embroideresses work on the back of the piece, positioning the haberdashery by touch on the front and stitching them in place with chain stitch).
Then back to Germany for the meticulous assembly of the various sections and back again to Paris for finishing.
Upholsterer, Stéphane Corler, positioned the panels on the screens. The silvery, golden and bronze colours of the satins and leathers emphasise the metallic blue-tinged gleam of the stone and crystal embroidery for an exclusive and sophisticated atmosphere.
Jouin designed an unusual piece for the fireplace at the back of the restaurant. Three sculptural delftware logs, created by Jean- Philippe Hazard, a Parisian who specialises in model building. They are lit by various coloured lights diffused by a projector concealed up in the flue. The reflections on the logs suggest the idea of fire. This concept was created by Enzyme Design.
Le Bar du Plaza Athénée is a blue-themed bar designed by Jouin and his partner Sanjit Manku where the extensive use of wood and high ceilings counterbalance the modern glass bar. The tall tables and chairs, are very ‘New York’ and break up the layout of low tables and leather armchairs in the lounge.
New projects for the agency include two restaurants and a bar at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Paris and the Swatch Art Peace Hotel in Shanghai, both of which are due to open in the summer.