location : Paris, cinémathèque française
date : 2009
type : competition
program : restaurant
team: Mut-architecture ( Léo Morand & John Mascaro) + Le potager design ( Brigitte Bouillot & benoit Millot)
fabricator : Kunstbetrieb Basel
status : built
Arriving at the Cinematheque Francaise we enter Parc Bercy. When walking into the park the first thing you now see is a picnic table. The table serves Restaurant 51 - the restaurant of the Cinematheque - a restaurant designed by MUT-ARCHITECTURE (A collaborative founded by Léo Morand & John Mascaro), and Brigitte Bouillot of Le potager design. We follow the lines of the table, a wooden structure bent and shaped to seat the greatest number of restaurant goers in the most convivial setting. With half the table outdoors, facing Parc Bercy and the other half twisting its path through the interior of the restaurant, people can now sit comfortably close to one another and enjoy a meal or a glass of wine before visiting the Museum, or after leaving it. Like a Lionel toy race car set, the table can be taken apart, fashioned into a number of different variations depending on the needs of the restaurant or changes in the weather.
The two rooms of the restaurant are varied. The larger room is dark, the Frank Gehry design offers a large mezzanine stuck in the middle of the space. Rather than trying to hide the structure it was painted bright red, which softens the harsh black walls used by the restaurant staff for chalking up the day’s specials. The red monolith is surrounded by ad hoc chandeliers made with dual bulb light sockets that hang from the 4 meter ceiling hovering beyond the mezzanine, they cast an elegant glow upon the table as it winds, visually unbroken, throughout the space, then back through the surface of the building and onto the outdoor patio. The smaller of the two rooms is painted white, aside from the red mezzanine which spans the two rooms. The end of the 40 meter long picnic table is found in this room and can be used for conventional seating, can be moved around the room to fit with the remaining individual tables and chairs.
Extra oddities are noticed within the space, while standing to order, or flipping through a book - which can be picked up from a book rack fitted into a detail of the table - below the bank atop which is the register, you see boots, twelve pairs of fisher’s boots that act as the legs to the bank. The boots are placed in comfortable standing positions and seem to be worn by invisible people stuck inside the big black box. Facing the register is a cacophony of old furniture smashed together, legs jutting out in places, drawers bisecting the outer walls of the structures meant to hold them; this structure is an epicerie. Here you might find hanging from the uprooted legs of a mid-twentieth century hutch a grouping of saussicon, or a stack of pate sits in an old children’s dresser that was cut in half and stuck to the side of a large armour.