Les Arts Decoratifs benefits from a breathtaking vista, looking out onto the museum’s verdant grounds. Its restaurant, Loulou, does too, which is one of the reasons acclaimed interior architect Joseph Dirand agreed to design it, transforming the existing Saut du Loup restaurant into a buzzy new nightspot that opened earlier this year.
“I wanted the rooms to feel as if they belong in the museum, as though I was reconstructing the home of a collector.”
To set about designing his second “museum restaurant”, Joseph Dirand focused immediately on the change of context, with Loulou’s connection to a museum of decorative arts, a clear starting point for the project. “The restaurant had to feel like an object itself and pay homage to its surroundings.”
“I wanted to balance a masculine and feminine attitude, but more specifically a masculine interior that is a tribute to women. This is why the work of Carlo Mollino came to mind – also the size and format of the various spaces already had the feeling of functioning like a small house.” That Franco-Italian mix of past decades has produced two sensually appealing environments chez Loulou: the dimly lit ground floor is sectioned off with peekaboo rattan panels into a series of comfy dining spaces (its ceiling in black lacquer, its floor in Breccia di Medici marble), and the more expansive first floor features two main chambers decorated with Flemish-style landscape murals hand-painted in Paris, facing expansive views of the Tuileries.
Yet whether you choose to sit upstairs, downstairs, or on its sunny garden terrace, Benoit Dargère’s menu remains a constant, attracting the international fashion set who have descended upon the establishment in droves, both in and out of fashion week.
“I work in tandem with Italian chef Diego Compagno, in such that I bring my French point of view and he brings an Italian one, so we are able to create a fusion between the two. Of course we respect certain Italian classics, too, but there are other dishes where we allow ourselves more freedom, particularly to adapt to a Parisian palette.”
“The autumn menu integrates products from the south of Italy, but with a French elegance. Downstairs, we also have our charcuterie bar with exclusively Italian cheeses and meats from across the country, whether it is ham or fresh hazelnuts from Piedmont, Sicilian pistachios, and other delicacies from Diego’s region of Venice. The space looks onto leafy gardens, it has a sunny aspect, so the flavours of the Mediterranean, both wine and food, felt natural to us.”
Thornback & Peel
Infusing 19th-century wood engravings with a touch of humour, Thornback & Peel’s hand-painted kitchen linens are wonderfully playful.
Based on the tools used by early man, the Human collection in mirror-polished stainless steel is beautifully simple.
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