The French art of welcoming is a way of conceptualizing spaces for reception.

How have you reinterpreted this art?

To us, the French art of welcoming involves the feeling of truly being at home, of feeling good in a space so that we can create a certain energy. The space has to be very comfortable, and the client has to feel very welcome. There you have it, the essence of the French art of welcoming.

What strikes you most in the bar is that it’s the bar of Thierry Hernandez. It’s not just any space; it’s the home of Thierry and his team. They welcome you with tremendous pleasure, as if you were at their home. You feel welcome, as a guest would at the home of a friend. This is also true of the restaurant and Denis Courtiade, who brings in an added soul to the place.

In terms of architecture, the French art of welcoming also involves breathing new life into a space. This doesn’t mean destroying something just to reconstruct it, but to bring in a bit of modernity and novelty, all while keeping a trace of the site’s past. In our very first project with the Plaza, we respected the history of the space, but we all asked ourselves: “What does it mean to be a Palace in the 21st century?” So we looked to bring in some boldness, to leave a striking memory. We sought to find something startling and daring, and push the limits of what one could do today, in terms of colors, materials, and expertise. The idea was not to piece together a museum. We wouldn’t have added anything to the room. A museum is a place you visit from time to time, whereas a hotel is the opposite. It’s a living area, where you have to continue giving it life. Bringing in soul.

Bar Plaza Athénée
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The bar in the Plaza Athénée

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