Sunday in the Park with Frank
Annie Block, Mark McMenamin, and Meghan Edwards -- Interior Design, 10/1/2009 12:00:00 AM
Frank O. Gehry & Associates completed the American Center in Paris in 1994. In 2005, after a renovation by the Atelier de l’Île, the limestone-clad cubist building became the Cinémathèque Française. Now it’s also home to Mut-Architecture’s Restaurant 51, named for the building’s address on the Rue de Bercy.
The 2,200-square-foot ground-level space is fittingly cinematic, with a Chinese red ceiling and black walls and flooring. Playing the lead role, picnic-style pine table segments twist and turn their way through the restaurant, then out toward the Parc de Bercy. “Unifying the interior with the park was crucial, so we had the tables spill from the building, entering and exiting in a virtually seamless line,” Mut cofounder Eléonore Morand explains.
In Restaurant 51’s takeout corner, shelving for wine and pâté is made of used furniture from the Association Emmaus, the Parisian version of the Salvation Army. Morand and Mut cofounder John Mascaro cut up the pieces, reassembled them, painted them black, and hung them on the wall. Similarly clever and inexpensive is the cash-wrap desk: a 10-foot-long box of MDF supported by seven pairs of black rubber boots filled with concrete. When it rains, consider Restaurant 51 an indoor picnic.
Images by Brigitte Bouilot.