Monday, January 2, 2012

Speaking of Paris...

If I was actually there... 
a must see for me would be the recently opened L'Opera Restaurant

Back in 1875, when French architect Charles Garnier designed the historic, 1,600 seat L’Opera Garnier, he fully intended to include a restaurant on the premises. His wish was not fulfilled until July, 2011, when the daring design by Odile Decq, of  Odile DECQ Benoit CORNETTE – Architectes Urbanistes, was revealed. The restaurant seats 170 at one time with the additional outdoor seating, weather permitting.

Initially, the restaurant concessionaire with the contract for the space held a design competition and actually selected another designer, but the Ministry of Culture rejected the winning design.  A cold call was then made to Odile Decq, who accepted the job. However, a dream job it was not. The many restrictions included: no touching of the stone surfaces, no blocking of the view of the ornate pendant suspended from the domed ceiling, and the space had to revert to its original state and every new element had to be removable at the end of the concessionaire's term.

One of the key features of the space is a magnificent glass curtain wall that protects the original stone, as seen above. The glass ranges from 26 to 28 feet in height and consists of two sheets of 0.4-inch-thick laminated glass. Silicone joints affix the top of the glass to the ceiling; a second steel band embedded in the floor secures the wall's base. Because the glass supports are invisible, it appears to magically float in place.

The mezzanine has a steel skeleton covered with molded white plaster. To offset the room's many hard surfaces, a porous, acoustically absorbent plaster coats the mezzanine's low walls and concave underbelly.The undulating structure does not touch the existing structure's walls, columns or roof. Its contemporary fluidity compliments the classical details of the vaulted stone ceiling without altering a thing. 

The mezzanine's walls, banquettes, chairs, and carpets are all a red that actually is between orange and red. The contrasts of the light stone and floating red spaces is striking.

I understand that the food is good, too...


  1. this is amazing! Will try the restaurant while in Paris in february.

  2. OOOh Ann doesnt it look inviting what fun yes ill try to visit in the spring and let you know !! Great mix of ancient and modern love the female curves
    fay xxx

  3. The architecture looks amazing love the mix of old and new. Thank you for sharing...


  4. I enjoy your snippets of architectural history and love the old bones of this building. However, I'm ambivalent about the old/ modern mix in this particular case.



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