Alain Ducasse: Reinventing the Codes…
The maxim “Change everything without changing anything” applies perfectly to the newest dining room at the Alain Ducasse Restaurant, which plays to the inventive ambition underlying the Plaza Athénee: Once upon a time, it was the Palace of Tomorrow.
The dining room has already been redesigned three times by Patrick Jouin, who has inspired numerous designers in his wake. With his first project, he enveloped the chandeliers, a trend that spread quickly and was widely imitated around the world. Subsequently, he “exploded” the pendant chandelier to create a multiplicative effect within the room. This time, he’s kept his hands off the chandeliers—instead, he has imported new elements into the room that further highlight their splendor from afar. The new restaurant thus maintains a sense of continuity with its preceding designs.
In accordance with the air and the movements around the room, the pendants of the chandeliers move and produce various effects along the ground and the ceiling. The light multiplies to produce a breathtaking effect from the moment you step into the room, thanks also in part to the presence of two monumental bells made of polished stainless steel. Inspired by service bells, these reflect the crystal pendants dangling from the chandeliers on the ceiling, as well as the comings and goings of the service staff, in a way that playfully distorts their silhouettes. It reminds me in many ways of this one large exposition held at the Grand Palais, where globes were suspended from the ceiling in such a way that they came to reflect each other in curious forms.
The room lends itself to various ambiances depending on the time of day. The evening gives way to a different set of tableware as well as a different play of light in the room. Toward the back of the room, you will also discover a magnificent cabinet of curiosities dedicated to the art of the table: tableware. It is here that objects in silver, copper, and crystal hold beautiful company together. Alain Ducasse has assembled his personal collection of tableware to illustrate the French art of welcoming.
But this piece functions as more than just a decorative unit: behind the cabinet, you may catch the eye of the restaurant hosts discreetly governing from behind to orchestrate the service throughout the dining room.
The new aesthetic of the art of welcoming
Alain Ducasse and François Delahaye have dared to reinterpret all the traditional restaurant codes of high-end gastronomy. They have revisited the art of welcoming by offering an astonishing and consistent aesthetic. Don’t expect tablecloths on the tables when you arrive, whether in the afternoon or evening; nor will you find fresh flowers, dish covers, or glasswork. All these things arrive over the course of the service; here you will have a personalized table setting that corresponds to the dishes being served.
The raw oak of the table only further exalts the tableware and the cuisine of Alain Ducasse, transporting his clients to a new era of high-end gastronomy. For breakfast, the cabinet of curiosities is closed up, and the tables are laid out with tablecloths. The ambiance adopts a more traditional look—a look that changes dramatically once the evening arrives. You are plunged further and further toward the exterior, toward the light.
It is impossible to become bored with this room. There are simply an endless variety of things to look at that promise to deliver you to a new realm. Here, the hotelier engages you as much through your spirit as through your five senses.
Learn more about room rates at the Plaza Athénée by clicking here.
Discover my other articles on the Plaza Athénée:
Plaza Athénée: Reinterpreting and Inventing the Palace of Tomorrow
Laurent Delporte, an editor and conference speaker, is a strategic expert in the sector of hotels. A visionary, he brings his unique look on hotels in service to the decision-makers in the industry, whether to enhance the development of new projects or strategic visions.
Laurent has visited and audited over 350 hotels across the world and also participates in mystery visits to provide quality control for the world’s finest hotels.