On the picturesque Ile St-Louis, an island in the middle of the Seine, a narrow six-century-old building has been transformed into a charming restaurant by Jaime Hayon, the Spanish designer renowned for his vibrant interiors for Camper, and his playful furnishings for BD Barcelona, Sé and Metalarte, among other big-name furniture brands.
The restaurant’s design maintains the original stone walls and exposed ceiling beams – an historic backdrop against which Hayon has injected his signature hits of form and colour. Legend has it that the building was once a tavern where Napoleon’s soldiers learned they had been conscripted (Le Sergent Recruteur translates to recruited sergeants). Appropriately, Hayon’s interior plays up this theme. In the front window stands a knight in pink armour, while a mirror shaped like a knight’s helmet decorates the wall of a 12-seat dining area.
Yet, the overall aesthetic gives off a soft, retro-mod vibe. This is best seen in the design’s main features – the shelving above the bar, the window to the kitchen, and the many mirrors throughout – which are round-edged and capsule like.
Furnishings, light fixtures and mirrors are all smoothly contoured, as well. Banquettes in green jewel tones and matching dining chairs provide warm, cozy seating around marble-topped tables. Suspended above the tables are orb-like lighting in elegant gold and white. These custom pieces aside, the restaurant highlights Hayon’s sense of humour by integrating his quirky illustrations and whimsical sculptures embellished with luxurious gold and black sketches.
The designer, who has created chairs for BD Ediciones inspired by MGM musicals, larger-than-life installations for Bisazza and a colourful crystal collection for Baccarat, continues to show he is a master in melding opulence and humour.