2017 október 19.
 

Lina Ghotmeh: Les Grands Verres restaurant

Lina Ghotmeh — Architecture just delivered the design of the new restaurant of the Palais de Tokyo in Paris extending over 553 m² with more than 170 covers and a terrace with a stunning view on the Eiffel Tower. With her new architecture, Lina Ghotmeh celebrates the beauty of the raw. The design blends sensitively into the textures of this largest center for contemporary artistic creation in all of Europe and now enjoys an entirely customized restaurant with materials and furniture custom made and drawn by its architect. More than 300 suspended lights celebrate the large height of the Palais de Tokyo and invite you into a sensual experience as hands move along the sustainable materials employed.

Photo copyright : Takuji Shimmura - Lina Ghotmeh - Architecture
Concept:
 
“At the Palais de Tokyo, this project was the opportunity to transform the culinary experience into an immersive realm, in which the architecture becomes emotion. It is a material experience that can enter into a powerful dialog with the architecture of the Palais; emerging from its traces, its past, from its existing textures. In this project, I wished to highlight the large volumes of the nave, to dialog with these and to offer a new perspective, a new way of seeing and discovering the same spaces. 
I think one cannot intervene in the Palais de Tokyo, this great center for contemporary creation, without thinking of the intervention as a complete works of Arts. This has driven me to undertake a unique and custom design for all the objects and furniture. The ‘unfinished’ and ‘raw’ look of this museum have always fascinated me. I have the feeling of being “at home”- in a parallel state to that of my birth city Beirut. It is an ambivalent yet precious state, and a permanent trigger for our imagination. We feel good in these raw spaces, they open our creativity and they set us dreaming. I also wondered about the experience that could be developed around the fresh-from-the-market, authentic dishes of a natural cuisine. The design is set to be sustainable and makes guests feel good allowing them to travel with all of their senses through a heightened and surprising sense of materiality (earth, metals, wood … the drawing of an interior forest). All imagined with celebratory tone along the depths of the nave, I imagined the 316 suspended to simultaneously highlight the beauty of the volume. As they vary in height, they create the intimate personal experience that the clients seek when eating. Along these lines, three distinct eating experiences orchestrate the depth of this space. This is what I would call eating in ‘three acts’ (the informal - the intimate - the collective) reflecting on the thought that the relationship with the cuisine, like the one with the earth, being never unequivocal but always assumes multiplicity.”  Lina Ghotmeh.

Through three chromatic intensities, the architecture of the restaurant proposes a gradation of experiences, ranging from the most porous to the most intimate area. 
Space 1: the entrance, the “Ready-made”.
Act one: The Palais’ Agora   

 At the entrance, the first space, named “Ready-made,” has a stronger link with the Palais de Tokyo and its artistic life. It is a coffeehouse–theater, an agora type of space where dining becomes a performance. Here you can eat and drink to the rhythm of the installations and more informally, either seated, standing, or in between, above, on chairs or on a banquette. The staggered bleacher levels are conducive to encounters, and lovebirds can perch up high with their drinks at hand. We can discover the spaces of the Palais in a different light, with a broad perspective opened up for the visitors. The modularity of this space, offers multiple combinations, and a variable geometry. Always on the sustainable tone, a selection of furniture and objects are made of recycled plastics, marbles among other materials



Space 2 “Les Grands Verres”.
Act two: Back to earth

The Master piece of the place: an 18 meters long bar underlines the central area of the restaurant, made entirely of rammed earth, a 100% natural and sustainable material. A first for Paris. This bar is the genuine “magnet of people.” Thanks to its lively active and sensual materiality, it is the beating heart of the crowd and of the discussions underway. We see here an interactive bar and the focus of constant movement between guests, cocktail addicts and chefs. Lina Ghotmeh draws in this place a natural, deeply humanistic atmosphere, reminding us that earth is the origin of all food. Besides this exquisite piece of earth, a more intimate space is modeled with custom wooden alcove banquettes, wood tables, chairs invite people to eat comfortably in smaller groups with whispers are kept in small groups.  

The “Glass House”, a privatized space.
Act three: Dining in the hollow space of a work of art    
 
Dubbed the “Glass House”, the final act consists of: the restaurant’s most intimate space, which can be privatized for a deep culinary experience: whether among friends, or with the family, along the Eiffel tower’s view, the intention is to gather around a large 20+ people table whose curvilinear forms, inspired by nature, evokes a reflective drop of water, a perfect spectacle for the guests of a special evening. Irreverence and experimentation will reign in this space, which communicates with the rest of the restaurant with its frosted glass interface. 

The terrace 

With a total capacity of almost 200 places, the layout of the terrace fits perfectly into the geometry of the place, in a close dialog with the majesty of the existing structure. The furnishings custom drawn of pure, almost primary forms, surround a bar composed of a foliation of concrete layers. Scattered around are the ‘Maximum’ chairs, made of recycled plastic, they provide a few discreet hints of red and green color while bowing to this exceptional site overlooking the Seine.
The furnishings and lighting

Like a chef, the Architect transforms raw materials into a place. 
Amid models, briefs, and multiple samples in the office of Lina Ghotmeh – Architecture,  the prototypes for the furniture of Les Grands Verres sit in series: banquettes, bar stool, armchair, chairs…Because, for the “Realm of the hand,” Lina Ghotmeh has designed the entire experience from Architecture to furnishings. Working mainly with raw materials to ensure a feeling of nature and sensuality of touch.
The lighting, in the form of glass droplets encircled by black metal, varies in height, density, and intensity to underscore the unity of the three spaces while simultaneously singularizing each one. 

source: press release

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