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Studio Andrew Todd

KGB



KGB
Kitchen Galerie Bis Restaurant | France | 2009

Category: Restaurant
Space: Small, Interior
Status: Built
Team: Collaborator: Daniel Humair


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I have been a great admirer of William Ledeuil's cuisine since he opened his first restaurant (Ze Kitchen Galerie) in 2001. He allies integrity of ingredients, modesty, directness and technical mastery with a great ambition and level of risk in creating balances between sometimes dissonant flavours (rhizomes with Asian citrus fruits and herbs). You can imagine, then, that I almost fell off my seat when he invited me to design his new restaurant: how on earth can one make an architectural correlative for such a high-level culinary world? Add another ingredient -the great Daniel Humair, William's guru in terms of space, artwork and theme, and my own mentor at the drumset- and you have a very heady brew indeed.

I am pleased to say that this project was both easy to conceive and a great pleasure to enact, thanks largely to the bonhomie and respect between the protagonists. Jacques Cagna's former seafood outpost -the old-worldy Espadon Bleu- was transformed into a clean space which -we hope- is resolutely contemporary, but fashion and style-free. The timbers of a former party wall which awkwardly sat betwixt two unequal dining rooms have been encompassed in a thick wall which appears to be cut through with jagged, diagonal slices like arrow slots. These slots are clad on the inside with different coloured mirrors which reflect fragments of the opposing room into each space, thereby reducing the sense of exclusion and enclosure in the smaller room.

 

The wall is embraced by built-in benches which appear to weave through it; robust wooden tables and Leopold Gest's tough, colourful metal seats complete the picture and set the stage for the all-important artwork on the walls by Daniel himself, Francois Arnal, Georges Autard, Tony Soulié, Jacques Bosser and Bridget O'Rourke. The space is brought to life by ERCO gallery lighting, some recessed LEDs and microscopic table luminaires which we have developed with Blip Creative.

 

Andrew Todd

 

Picture credits: Eric Laignel / Thomas Brun