Whatever Parisian pastry chef extraordinaire, Philippe Conticini, does gets noticed. His talent for creating desserts that are art in all meanings of the word has found yet another expression this September when he unveiled his latest creation, La Pâtisserie des Rêves (the patisserie of dreams), in the chic 7th arrondissement in Paris. Nothing in the design of the sleek 29 square-metre boutique is reminiscent of a traditional European konditorei. Most strikingly, the stars of the space — the desserts, cakes and pastries — are displayed on a round platform in the centre. Each of the 15 culinary masterpieces is presented under its own temperature-controlled glass bell suspended from the ceiling. Customers order their selection from the staff, after which each order appears directly from the kitchen. Both ideas evoke the feel of a meticulous laboratory where precious specimens are handled. Conticini has been in the culinary limelight for more than two decades with his own TV show, several books, restaurants and awards. - Tuija Seipell
Germain is a Parisian restaurant in a newly revitalized space at 25-27 rue de Buci in the 6th Arrondissement. The prolific, Iranian–born and Paris-based architect, India Mahdavi, created the interior architecture of the three-storey, funky establishment.
The most striking feature of the space is a massive yellow sculpture of a woman in an overcoat and high heels. Its lower half stands on the café’s first floor while the upper body and head break through the ceiling to the upper level VIP lounge area. The sculpture is one of three that the multi-disciplinary, Paris-based artist, Xavier Veilhan, made of his friend Sophie for an exhibition at the Emmanuel Perrotin Gallery (Miami) in 2006.
When Thierry Costes, scion of the Parisian hospitality family that owns Germain, asked Veilhan to contribute to Germain, Veilhan studied the multi-storey location and envisioned the drama that would be created if one of his Sophies “grew” in it, almost as if it were a feature that pre-existed the restaurant.
The Costes family is no stranger to using the talent and drawing power of well-known designers and artists in its hotels, restaurants and cafés. The fact that the 36-year-old Veilhan’s sculptural installation work has a prominent presence currently at Versailles cannot but help attract customers and the curious to the left-bank location of Germain. - Tuija Seipell
Tobias Rehberger won the best artist Golden Lion this summer at the 53rd International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale. This year’s Exhibition is titled Making Worlds (Fare Mondi).Rehberger won the prize for the cafeteria of the Palazzo delle Exposizioni della Biennale, formerly known as the Italian Pavilion. The cafeteria is open to the public at least till the end of the Biennale Art Exhibition (November 22).
Rehberger calls his cafeteria “Was du liebst, bringt dich auch zum Weinen” (Whatever you love, will bring you to wines). It is a crazy, retro-inspired space, juxtaposed with a jumble of forms and colours with black and white as the combining theme. He collaborated with the Finnish furniture house Artek that created custom furniture for the space.
The Art Exhibition is part of the venerable Venice Biennale, established in 1895. The Biennale promotes new artistic trends and organizes events, including the International Film Festival, the International Art Exhibition, the International Architecture Exhibition, the Festival of Contemporary Music, the Theatre Festival and the Festival of Contemporary Dance. - Tuija Seipell
KAA is a magnificent example of beautiful use of space. A surprising, lush, open-air atmosphere awaits behind a windowless white stucco facade. The main restaurant is a narrow and long nearly 800 square-meter, high-ceilinged space. A massive green wall with more than 7,000 live plants, a retractable roof over a section of the space, a staircase leading to a mezzanine-level lounge, and a dividing wall behind the bar, all add to the magnificent feeling of airy relaxation.
Casas has indeed reached his goal of creating an urban oasis for busy paulistas, as KAA has the distinct feel of a luxurious hotel lounge, minus the hotel.
American institute of Architecture Los Angeles chapter recently gave KAA one of its Restaurant Design awards. The 43-year-old Arthur Casas has already managed to create a successful multi-disciplinary practice that is involved in residential, commercial, corporate, retail and hospitality projects, interior design, plus product and furniture design. Expect to see his name much more frequently. - Tuija Seipell.
You know how good you feel when you have just tidied your workspace, and how much more organized and productive you seem to be. Do great surroundings affect other areas of life as well? For example, if school meals were served in well-designed and good-looking spaces - could this encourage healthy eating and improve the well-being of students?
That was the theory behind a pilot project of The School Food Trust, a government body in the UK chaired by Michelin-starred chef, writer and entrepreneur, Prue Leith. The Trust aims to improve the quality of school food and to promote the health of children and young people.
The Trust has been working with students to gain an understanding of the importance of the lunchtime environment. The goal is to create new school dining environments across the UK.
A pilot project - The Applemore College Canteen (or ACC as it has been rebranded) - was recently completed at Applemore Technology College in Southampton, where on a tight budget of £55K, the once-dull and lifeless dining hall was transformed into a buzzing eatery and hang-out space, extremely popular among the students.
Designed by renowned architects SHH, the 4,000-square-foot interior now has a relaxed cafeteria feel with areas zoned for eating and for casual hanging-out. The ACC’s innovative features include hanging graphic panels which help absorb noise, and an industrial feel and striped motif inspired by Manchester's popular Hacienda club.
“This pilot project proves that well-designed and suitably equipped kitchens and dining areas are solid investments for the future and contribute significantly to the whole school approach to healthy lifestyles and to the overall success of the school,”says Barbara Roberts, Delivery Manager at The Trust.
Clearly, you don’t have to be a trendy bar, a boutique hotel or the pop-up store of the moment, to create positive buzz. This project shows that with some well thought-out ideas and innovative planning, even the dullest of spaces can be transformed. And at reasonable cost. - Brendan McKnight
Weï¿½re constantly in awe of the incredible ideas coming out of the world of retail and hospitality interior design. Over the last few years we've seen an influx of creative new minds enter the field who are redefining the concept and making their own rules. The latest inspiring example of innovative interior commercial design is the new Maedaya Grill & Sake bar in Melbourne, created by local design firm, Architects Eat. The sushi restaurant's interior, mostly 'bound' by ropes, demonstrates the possibility of using ordinary recyclable material for hospitality projects without compromising sophistication.
The rope idea originated from the classic design of sake bottles, which are traditionally secured with ropes. The principal materials for this project are Manila ropes, timber and concrete, all reflecting natural elements such as vegetation and earth.
EAT took a different path with the first-floor function room, which is in stark contrast with the ground-floor 'rope' room. Here they have created a modern, minimalist space with white-washed walls, Japanese black-stained timber flooring, simple timber benches and raw stainless steel canopies. By Lisa Evans.