YOSHINORI is a gourmet restaurant located in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Prés just a stone’s throw away from Odéon. The space consists of two floors, a ground floor, and a basement. It is characteristic of the neighborhood in which it is located and has a stone and wooden structure, visible wooden beams on the ground floor, and vaulted stone cellars in the basement. Yoshinori Morie is a Japanese chef who makes gourmet French cuisine while bringing to his dishes a balance of flavors, presentation, and technique that are very characteristic of his background.
Our vision was to interpret this cultural blending in the conception of the restaurant without proposing a Japanese-inspired space. We researched an element specific to the Japanese aesthetic culture: the art of wooden screen panels. This traditional Japanese handiwork is based on the repetition of a triangular pattern in which motifs are sometimes inserted, which also communicate meanings and wishes. We then made this pattern the central theme of the restaurant’s interior design: it appears on the walls of the ground floor, it becomes transparent in the stairway railing, and it changes scale and shape-transforming itself into a diamond motif for the openwork screens and the glasswork of the semi-open kitchen.
The screens are given a modern update thanks to digital cutting on lightly bleached MDF oak-plated panels. All of the openwork screens, such as the railing and the glasswork in the kitchen and basement, have been inserted into a steel structure that we opted to oxidize in order to highlight the raw material, which contrasts with the wood’s lacelike quality, another allusion to Yoshinori’s cuisine.
Major construction was carried out to remodel the existing space. There were many demands that had to be met in a space that only measures 70 m², which was a former pizzeria. We had to find places for the kitchen equipment, storage, carts, refrigerated wine rack, and of course the tables and seats. The openwork screens, the cornerstone of our project, were crucial in allowing us to define spaces and protect passageways and entrances, creating a feeling of intimacy in every corner of the restaurant.
Architects: Alia Bengana architecte dplg, Atelier BEPG SASU d’Architecture
Lead Architects: Alia Bengana, Bianca Patroni-Griffi
Project Team: Marta Martins, Siyu Shi
Photographs: David Cousin-Marcy