Arlene Hirst | March 22, 2013
Parisian auction house Artcurial features a comprehensive art bookstore, now joined by the chic Café Artcurial freshly redesigned by Charles Zana, a rising star on the local scene. The auction house of the moment for contemporary art as well as vintage photography, jewelry, antique books and top-drawer modern design, Artcurial is housed in one of the city's most beautiful 19th-century mansions, the Beaux-Arts building of the former Hôtel Marcel Dassault sited at the fashionable intersection of Avenue Montaigne and the Champs-Élysées.
Zana, an art collector himself, says the restaurant's scheme takes inspiration from the designs of Gio Ponti, which Zana executed in shades of matte beige, brown and black. The narrow anteroom is lined with simple black-leather banquettes and white Carrara marble-topped café tables and chairs—all custom designed by Zana. The walls are covered in a diamond Ponti-esque pattern, also Zana's design.
This room’s mosaic tiled floor leads directly into an airy, glass roof-topped space with exposed brick walls and wooden floors that look out on a beautiful private garden, intended to maintain the feeling of an orangerie. A bar, crafted in Carrara marble, supplies an artful transition between the two rooms. Both spaces are lit with classic 1967 glass globes by Luigi Caccia Dominioni for Azucena.
Shelves by Pierre Bonnefille, designed to display various objects from ongoing auctions at Artcurial, are perhaps the room’s most distinctive feature, providing an ongoing exhibition space and a constant change of scene for diners. Café Artcurial is open for lunch and dinner.