VOGUE Living Australia - - News - By IAN PHILLIPS

The in­spi­ra­tion for French de­signer Claude Cartier’s first- ever restau­rant project couldn’t have been sweeter


FRENCH DE­SIGNER Claude Cartier’s favourite dessert as a child was black for­est cake. It’s also her 87-year-old fa­ther’s pud­ding of choice. So it seems fit­ting that her first-ever restau­rant project bears the French name for the choco­late, whipped cream and black cherry con­fec­tion — La Forêt Noire. The lo­ca­tion for such a sleekly de­signed eatery seems a lit­tle im­prob­a­ble — an in­dus­trial park on the out­skirts of the vil­lage of Chaponost to the west of France’s sec­ond largest city, Lyon. But it is there that the own­ers Is­abelle and Charles Dar­nault al­ready had their ca­ter­ing firm, C Gas­tronomie. The brief they pro­vided was clear. “It had to be a chic brasserie that was nei­ther too trendy nor bor­ingly tra­di­tional,” Cartier re­calls. The Dar­naults were also in­tent on work­ing with a de­signer who had never done a restau­rant be­fore. “That way, we could give it a dis­tinct identity,” notes Is­abelle. To date, the ma­jor­ity of Cartier’s work has been purely res­i­den­tial. She has com­pleted nu­mer­ous houses and apart­ments mostly in and around Lyon — CLAUDE CARTIER as well as the odd of­fice project. An im­age of the head­quar­ters she cre­ated for the brand­ing firm Wark De­sign was re­cently cho­sen by the Ital­ian fur­ni­ture man­u­fac­turer Moroso for its in­ter­na­tional ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign. The use of black is one of her sig­na­ture touches, as is a love of con­tem­po­rary de­sign (she also runs two show­rooms in Lyon that rep­re­sents brands in­clud­ing Clas­si­con, Flex­form and Christophe Del­court). The start­ing point for La Forêt Noire, on which she col­lab­o­rated with her as­so­ciate Fa­bien Lou­vier, was how­ever a lit­tle more tra­di­tional — an at­mo­spheric black wall­pa­per called ‘Mid­sum­mer Night’, which re­minds Cartier of 18th-cen­tury gri­sailles. “It adds a his­toric touch; I like it a lot,” she says. It also ref­er­ences the nearby forests, as do sev­eral other al­lu­sions to veg­e­ta­tion such as Di­more Stu­dio’s ‘ Palm’ car­pet and a bark-like mo­tif on the back of the cus­tom piv­ot­ing mir­rors. One of Cartier’s main aims for the 350-square- me­tre, 120-seat space was to cre­ate a num­ber of very dis­tinct zones. “When I’m in a restau­rant, I don’t like be­ing in a big open space. It makes me feel ill-at-ease,” she says. Dom­i­nated by a green ser­pen­tine sofa, a brass bar and a black-and-white checker­board floor, the main sec­tion has more than a touch of New York to it. An­other area to the right is rem­i­nis­cent of turn-of-the-cen­tury Vi­enna with its caned Thonet chairs and globe-shaped ceil­ing fix­tures. Through­out, Cartier played on a con­trast be­tween so­phis­ti­cated el­e­ments and more in­dus­trial notes. One con­stant how­ever is the in­cor­po­ra­tion of con­tem­po­rary de­sign. Items in­clude Er­wan and Ro­nan Bouroul­lec’s Palanco mir­ror and Thonet’s quirky sculp­tural ‘Waltz’ clothes rack in the bath­room. Once you’ve ad­mired the de­sign, you can get down to the se­ri­ous busi­ness of en­joy­ing the food. It goes with­out say­ing that black for­est cake is a menu sta­ple. “We tried to keep it as close as pos­si­ble to the tra­di­tional recipe”, says Is­abelle Dar­nault. For Cartier, it’s mis­sion ac­com­plished: “It tastes ex­actly like in my child­hood mem­o­ries.”

Fur­nish­ings at La Forêt Noire, de­signed by Claude Cartier, in­clude ‘Bodys­tuhl’ chairs by Nigel Coates for Ge­brüder Thonet Vi­enna;‘Sus­pen­sion 01’ ceil­ing fix­ture from Magic Cir­cus Edi­tions; and ‘Mid­sum­mer Night’ wall­pa­per by Lorenzo De Gran­dis for Wall & Decò.

left: in the restau­rant en­try, Gubi ‘TS Con­sole’ by Gamfratesi and ‘Lus­tre 05’ chan­de­lier from Magic Cir­cus Edi­tions. be­low: de­signer Claude Cartier and her as­so­ciate, Fa­bien Lou­vier. ‘Gala’ chairs from Sièges Per­rouin; ‘Palm’ car­pet by Di­more Stu­dio for Brac­quenié. clock­wise from above left: ‘ Gala’ chair from Sièges Per­rouin; Gubi ta­ble. Cus­tom ban­quette up­hol­stered in ‘Avalon’ Tre­vira CS velour from Sahco Hesslein; ‘Me­woma’ ta­bles by Jonah Tak­agi for La Chance. Cus­tom piv­ot­ing mir­rors backed with ‘Coupole’ wall­pa­per from Pierre Frey.

Visit claude-cartier.com.

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