French are known for their refined interior design style. Discover how five international designers have managed to rework the opulence of the French Belle Epoque into contemporary restaurant interiors.
Astor Grill – Doha, Qatar
The Astor Grill is without doubt one of the most exciting dining spots in Doha. Designed by the Rockwell Group Europe, the French-inspired restaurant boasts a striking five-meter-high curving bronze sculpture in its entrance, resembling greyish smoke frozen in time.
Moving into the first room, a geometric leather dining furniture and organic barrel vault appear followed the main room, which features pine wood pieces hanging from the ceiling making it feel all very textural. The deep red leather chairs and a red lacquer portal frame add a fiery warmth to the room, which leads to a raised area with views of the open-grill kitchen.
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The NoMad – Manhattan, New York
Set on reclaimed maple hardwood floors, The NoMad is a piece of Baroque Paris in New York. French designer Jacques Garcia has crafted a restaurant that plays out as a series of rooms with a glass atrium. The separate drinking area is velvety, plush and rich in woody details. The 8-meter-long bar is made from the darkest mahogany carved with elephant pillars reminiscent of European obsession with the Orient.
Damask-patterned paravents and claw-foot chairs carry colorful floral tapestries in the main restaurant, next to an array of meticulous materials; from custom linen cushions to embossed leather trims. It’s particularly cosy and français with the ornate antique stone fire place and mantel as the room’s feature – imported from a French château.
La Maison 1888 – Da Nang, Vietnam
Bangkok-based designer, Bill Bensley is the man behind La Maison 1888 – a dining room within the Intercontinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort. Taking on the aesthetic of colonialism that swept changed traditional Vietnam decades ago, the eating spot hosts a French feel mixed up with contemporary design elements in fabric and design.
The dining room boasts a monochromatic black-and-white color made jungle with leafy green tropical plants. The Louis XVI-look chairs are modernized by a parchment roll motif deep in historical references and opulence.
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Brasserie Zédel – London, UK
Close to a century old, the Brasserie Zédel was originally part of the Regent Palace Hotel back in 1915. Oliver Percy Bernard gave it a revamp in the Thirties before historic restorations firm, Donald Insall Associates, fixed up the interior fabrics after decades of patronage. Now with a vrai Art Deco nuance within its refreshed marble and brass-lined walls, the Brasserie is accompanied by Crazy Coqs, the cabaret and jazz club, and the luxurious Bar Américain.
Exploration, time and travel are leitmotifs here with romantic images of retro aeroplanes flying around the space and a large Roman numeral clock like find in Paris’ Musée d’Orsay.
The French Blue – St. Helena, California
Looking to go to Cannes on a balmy summer eve? Head to French Blue in the Napa Valley instead. Designed by Howard J. Backen – a specialist in winery architecture, and his wife Lori – who took on all of the interiors work, the restaurant is a petit white space with sandy wood panels and airy lights.
Working off the notion of eating au terrace, a large patio with a French fireplace frames the main dining area. French windows let the outside come in onto simple, woven dining chairs next to linen cushions in ice-grey and cream canvas light fixtures. It’s a tonal white wash inspired by the delicacy and color of French lace.
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