The spirit of the place

Magical detailing, the finest materials and sophisticated artisanal finishes create a unique atmosphere at Auberge de l’Ill restaurant in Alsace

Auberge de l'Ill, veranda
Auberge de l'Ill, veranda

While nature is undoubtedly a vital part of this restaurant, the real stars are the Haeberlin family, who have used it to showcase their passion for food and hospitality for the past 150 years. The restaurant has been awarded three Michelin stars on 50 occasions, most recently in 2017. When the restaurant decided to give the interior a refresh, the Haeberlin and Baumann families turned to Paris-based design studio Jouin Manku, who they last worked with ten years ago – with stunning results. In the entrance area, the studio created a lounge and boutique, where guests can relax on leather sofas and enjoy a drink before or after dinner. The boutique – home to a high table upholstered in leather with pewter top – features a dozen display cases made from different types of wood. These are located along the two longer walls and display books, objects and local products.

The welcoming, homely atmosphere is created not just by the oak flooring, with rug placed in the centre, but also the natural light that streams in from the ceiling through a shade reminiscent of an Arabic mashrabiya, with the effect obtained through repetition of the company logo. The reception area, where the walls have been kept in red, leads through to the heart of the restaurant, which is divided up into various rooms that flow harmoniously into one another thanks to a long carpet designed to symbolise the movement of a river. It is a stunning example of craftsmanship, made by hand by Manufacture de Tapis de Bourgogne in quilted wool, changing from green-blue to red-ochre as it moves through the space. All of the rooms have been injected with new life thanks to chairs designed by Patrick Jouin for Pedrali and tables by French designer Laurent Janvier. Following the course of the soft carpet, you reach the veranda, where guests find their gaze drawn skywards by the three enormous discs (four metres in diameter) made from mirror stainless steel and installed on the ceiling. The surface of the discs has been designed to reflect the surrounding environment and remind guests of the presence of the nearby river. In order to optimise the acoustics, all of the walls have been light-coloured fabric, which skirting board in glazed bronze. Next comes the River Room, with its stunning curtain made from Murano glass tubing. There is a fairy-tale quality to the room, courtesy of the fabric-covered walls featuring colourful butterflies and delicate paper birds by artists Diana Beltran Herrera. The Salle Alsacienne is dominated by its large, curved, inlaid panel (three metres by seven), which acts as an alcove, creating a sense of intimacy for the two bespoke tables. Added privacy is supplied by the bronze canes, which nestle in the wood surrounding the tables. In a tribute to the sculpture and engravings synonymous with Alsace’s furniture traditions, the 20m2 surface features at least ten different types of wood. Designed by artist Philippe David, this work of art creates a theatrical setting that transports guests into a dreamlike world of water, storks, herons, dragonflies, willows and aquatic plants.


Haeberlin - Baumann

Illhaeusern, France

Interior design
Agence Jouin Manku

Executive architect
Atelier Rauseo, Silvio Rauseo

Lighting design

Philippe David

on design, Pedrali

Paper art
Diana Beltran Herrera

Photo credits
Eric Laignel