Architecture firm Odile Decq Benoit Cornette recently finished Paris's Opera Garnier L'Opera restaurant, which is rumored to be the toughest reservation in the city.
The restaurant, a beautifully designed, sleek space, occupies a mezzanine level and the ground floor at Opera Garnier, both of which create a sense of undulating movement, thanks to the curvaceous seating areas and architecture created by Odile Decq Benoit Cornette.
The restaurant is the first to ever be installed at Opera Garnier in its nearly 150 years of existence, and it may have indeed been worth the wait. Built behind the columns of the east facade of the Opera Garnier, the restaurant's design had to follow strict guidelines that took into account the historical character of the building itself. No walls, pillars, or ceiling space could be touched in the creation of the new space.The restaurant features a facade of curving glass that fits between each pillar, held in place by a strip of bent steel just below the arched curve of the ceiling. This creates a long-ranging view for guests while also creating a phantom-like sense of dimensions within the opera building. With seating for 90 guests, it's spacious enough to accommodate the opera's needs while still feeling intimate when guests are spread between both levels of the restaurant. To create the mezzanine, ODBC designed narrow columns that reach up to the plaster hull of the original building and curves into a handrail. The original dome of the opera building is visible from the ground floor, but becomes a more intimate experience for mezzanine diners, who are much closer to the dome when dining. This upper level feels much more private than the ground floor, and the red carpet and upholstered furniture running throughout the space create an intimate feel and contrasts dramatically with the stark white.
Photos courtesy of Roland Halbe