by Meghna MehtaMay 24, 2019
Ever since the first Beefbar opened its doors to meat lovers, way back in 2005, restaurateur Ricardo Giraudi has not looked back. After Monaco, Hong Kong and Mexico, the adventure continues between Ricardo and interior architects Emil Humbert and Christophe Poyet, this time in Paris.
Standing where the historical Fermette Marbeuf used to be, we are told Beefbar Paris’ project work started with an unexpected discovery: a room in the most stunning Art Nouveau style! Already registered as a ‘historical monument’ since 1983, the room was heavily damaged, and yet the glory of sweeping sectioned arches, pilasters, friezes and missing enamelled ceramic panels shone through. Humbert and Poyet had their job cut out - naturally, the place had to be restored to look its dramatic best. The first step in getting the big picture right was to have the best artisans possible working on site with them. Artists, mirror manufacturers, painters, decorators…the hunt began. And they did not stop till they found the right team.
The magic shows as you walk into the newest baby in the chain. Rich jewel tones, patterned carpeting and gleaming wood wall panels come together to create a stunning aged effect, where you would otherwise expect a light and contemporary dining space. Red velvet dining chairs, brass-edged tables and ornate pillars, dress up the restaurant. We had heard about the restoration, but nothing prepares you for the first impression of the space.
Adorned with vegetal and symbolist patterns, the imposing atrium - the hero of the restaurant - has been restored to former glory. The entire set up has been repainted according to its old times’ reference, in decadent shades of green and bronze. When they started out, there was just the central atrium, an Art Nouveau jewel made in 1898 by the architect Emil Hurtré and painted by Jules Wielhorski. It stood as the dining room of the Lamgham Hotel, Rue du Boccador. During World War II, it was totally walled in and abandoned, with the main aim being to be hidden from the Nazis. The artwork here was discovered in 1983 and was then registered as a historical monument.
One would say it is a tad ornamental and not what you expect from the Beefbar family, but then, you are in Paris - and when you look at the restaurant with its history in perspective, you want to dine alongside the plush decorative elements and decadent visuals. In fact, the historical and aesthetic anchorage inspired the interior designers, accustomed to creating chic and quirky ambiences, to create a setting that manages to highlight beautifully the contrast between the old and the uber contemporary, 'A love game', they call it, 'between sobriety and eccentricity’.
Like most of their projects, the designers have successfully managed to keep the focus on elegant and meticulous design, creating a timeless space. Naturally, in this case, the most important aspect of the entire restoration and design process has been to respect the soul of the site. "(This) symbiosis forms the foundation of our projects and ensures the space that we have imagined works,” says Christophe Poyet.
In spite of all that dramatic flair, Beefbar Paris appears like a traditional, comfortable and refined brasserie where Art Nouveau elements like green tones and heavily-patterned carpets join Art Deco facets like marble accents, wall etchings, faceted mirrors and lacquered brass fittings to contrast with the industrial-like ceiling and modern minimalistic exterior woodwork.
As part of Beefbar’s identity, the meat cellar has been designed as a precious case in walnut, marble and brass. The bar with its cut mirrors is the surprise element, thrown in for added effect by Humbert and Poyet. In true Beefbar style, there is a lot of laid-back charm amidst all the glossy old-world theatrics - we love how the arched doorways and gleaming emerald walls lead you to the mirrored bar area with its blue leather stools that is as chic as it spells chilled out.