Les Grands Verres: a succession of experiences

The name of the restaurant itself is inspired by The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass) [Le Grand Verre], a work of art by Marcel Duchamp. With this project, Lina Ghotmeh has scratched below the surface of what the act of eating is all about – its power to bring people together, the relationships formed over a meal. In this restaurant, eating is an experience, a way of deepening the understanding between you and what is one your plate – and the people eating with you. The restaurant occupies a 553m2 space, with a terrace boasting views of the Eiffel Tower. There is space for 200 diners, thanks to Maximum chairs made from recycled plastic in red and green.

According to the Beirut-born designer, she felt a real emotional connection to this architectural project. Her main objective was to create a sustainable design that would put guests at ease, taking them on a journey engaging all the senses by using materials such as earth, metal and wood in innovative ways.
Settees, bar stools, armchairs, seats… they were all designed by Ghotmeh. The space – which is illuminated by 316 ceiling lights resembling waterdrops and suspended at different heights in different areas – is split into three Acts, one for the three culinary experiences on offer: informal, intimate and collective. Act One is at the entrance, a café-cum-theatre named ‘Ready-made’ where guests can eat or drink in informal surroundings, choosing whether to stand or sit on seats, benches or steps that encourage socialising. This space is trapezoidal in shape, with a selection of furniture and objects made from either recycled plastic or marble. Act Two – ‘Les Grands Verres’ – is about celebrating Planet Earth, with an 18m-long bar made entirely from unfired, 100%-natural earth.

The bar represents the beating heart of this second zone, which is the main hub for guests, cocktail artists and chefs. Running alongside the earth bar (which serves as a reminder of where our food comes from), intimate wooden tables and padded dividers allow guests to eat in small groups, chatting animatedly or sharing whispered conversations. Last but certainly not least, Act Three is entitled ‘Glass House’, where everything revolves around the large, fluid table that can accommodate up to 20 people, its shape reminding us of a water droplet hitting the ground and beginning to disperse. This area – designed for group dinners – is separated from the rest of the restaurant by frosted glass panels.