La Foret Noire Restaurant in Chaponost, France by Claude Cartier Studio | Yellowtrace

La Foret Noire Restaurant in Chaponost, France by Claude Cartier Studio | Yellowtrace

La Foret Noire Restaurant in Chaponost, France by Claude Cartier Studio | Yellowtrace

La Foret Noire Restaurant in Chaponost, France by Claude Cartier Studio | Yellowtrace

La Foret Noire Restaurant in Chaponost, France by Claude Cartier Studio | Yellowtrace

La Foret Noire Restaurant in Chaponost, France by Claude Cartier Studio | Yellowtrace

La Foret Noire Restaurant in Chaponost, France by Claude Cartier Studio | Yellowtrace

 

You’d think if you were planning on designing your first restaurant that you’d want to hire a designer who’d been around the block a couple of times. But not Isabelle and Charles Darnault. They wanted their French restaurant, located in the village of Chaponost, west of Lyon, to be designed by a novice. Well, not exactly a novice but someone who had never designed a restaurant before. Why? Because the designer wouldn’t have any preconceived ideas about what a restaurant would or wouldn’t look like. “That way, we could give it a distinct identity,” said Isabelle.

was well known for her striking work in residential and corporate design but was hitherto unfamiliar with restaurant design. She came on-board in collaboration with her associate, Fabien Louvier. The restaurant, La Foret Noire, based on the perennial favourite dessert, the black forest cake, aptly translates into English as The Dark Forest. Their brief, to design a chic brassiere, not too boring and not too bright. Just right.

The end result? If and had a love child, this would be it. Philippe could have designed the super reflective, bold and dominating brass bar himself. And those stools scream Starck. The three, white, wooden rings that loop around the full length of the stool almost glow florescently in the brass reflection. It makes the white circles seem less Thonet’s classic bentwood and more Starck’s neon. In fact these whimsical stools were not created by Starck at all. They were designed by for Gebruder Thonet Vienna.

 

La Foret Noire Restaurant in Chaponost, France by Claude Cartier Studio | Yellowtrace

La Foret Noire Restaurant in Chaponost, France by Claude Cartier Studio | Yellowtrace

La Foret Noire Restaurant in Chaponost, France by Claude Cartier Studio | Yellowtrace

La Foret Noire Restaurant in Chaponost, France by Claude Cartier Studio | Yellowtrace

La Foret Noire Restaurant in Chaponost, France by Claude Cartier Studio | Yellowtrace

 

This fitout is filled with seductive elements, from the h velvet, olive green banquettes to the brass hanging globes. But it is the grey, floral wallpaper that grabs you. It could have come straight out of Broadhurst’s private collection. In the style of the 18th century grisailles, a term for a painting executed entirely in shades of grey, it is aptly named “Midsummer Night” and it references the nearby forests. “It adds a historic touch; I like it a lot,” says Cartier.

No-one could accuse Cartier of not being bold and deliberate with her selection of finishes and materials. DimoreStudio‘s atmospheric “Palm”carpet, manufactured by with its vivid, printed graphics echoes the same forest, plant life theme.

What Cartier has aptly managed to achieve is to create separate spaces within the large 350 metre square floor plate. The restaurant has a distinctly 70’s vibe to it. It is both flamboyant and luxurious. Part h, part Studio 54 and part whimsy, this is no ordinary bistro. And no doubt vastly in part because by not having any preconceived ideas about what a restaurant should look like, one is open to an entire host of original ones.

 


[Images courtesy of . Photography © & .]

 



About The Author

Susanna McArdle

Susanna has a background in Interior Architecture and a passion for writing. Based in Sydney, she has worked both in Asia and Australia designing. An avid writer, it’s hard to know what she prefers more, stringing words together or creating spaces. But one thing she does know, is that she loves doing the both together.

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