Le Bar du Plaza Athénée FRA-Paris
In 2014, Paris-based studio Jouin Manku reinvented the bar of the city’s Hotel Plaza Athénée once again, after an initial renovation in 2001 made it a premiere high-life haunt. Coinciding with a more innovative and experimental cocktail menu, the redesigned interior departs somewhat from the traditional elegance of the hotel, taking a more avant-garde approach to the space while still incorporating elements of historic design vernaculars.
The intervention preserves the bar’s existing neoclassical boiserie – the rounded arches with florid reliefs, punctuated by engaged ionic columns. This shell now culminates in a new crown moulding, adopting the typology of the walls but in a glimmering silver to offset its antecedent’s warm matte finish. The most conspicuous and unconventional feature, however, is a dramatic ceiling installation consisting of a silky, deep blue fabric, draped capriciously to create a lush, hyper-baroque spectacle.
A futuristic bar counter, mirroring the form of the arches, is cast in a transparent resin. Gauzy finishes lend the countertop mass, tapering down into a clear stand that makes it appear to float. Behind, a singular chrome LED fixture illuminates the mixing station. With a scheme largely dependent on reflective surfaces, the contrast between the room’s surfaces fades as night falls, producing a dark and enigmatic atmosphere.
This is a bar of purity, where cocktails are crafted and served with passion. This is a bar of design, where every aspect will surprise and delight. This is a bar of sheer style, born of palace hotel standards but standing above the others in modern sophistication. This is Le Bar.
Architect/Designer: Jouin Manku
Photos: Eric Laigne
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