How Paris-based creatives designed a pop-up restaurant to empower refugee chefs
Paris – Employing refugee chefs Paris from Iran, Nepal, Chechnya, Syria, Ethiopia, Afghanistan and other countries on permanent and fixed-term contracts, French social business Les Cuistots Migrateurs uses its company as a platform to showcase a wide expanse of global culinary talent. Local multidisciplinary creative studio Juno has collaborated with Martin Dymensztein and design-thinking consultant Eugena Ossi to develop a pop-up restaurant for the organization.
The pop-up, which serves cuisine from the chefs’ homelands, is part of a project set in motion by Fondation Emerige. Entitled Voltaire, the project entailed the transformation of a 1,500-m2 industrial factory in Paris’ 11th arrondissement into a temporary place for creative production and exhibition. Voltaire offers artists and makers – such as those from Les Cuistots Migrateurs – a 12-month residency to experiment with concepts and share their creations with the city.
While briefed by Les Cuistots Migrateurs to develop the 100-m2 space, the designers were asked to keep a question at front of mind throughout the process: How could an architectural design convey both the ‘cultural melange’ of their team of chefs in addition to a ‘contemporary and stylish atmosphere? They became inspired by how modernism ‘tried to adapt to different cultural environments and cultures,’ explains Juno creative director Julia Nowodworski.
One of the space’s foremost defining features – bright spots of colour which dance across the walls – is an exemplary solution: the shapes are abstract interpretations of the intercultural alphabets and languages represented in the culinary team. Vibrant custom-made furnishings and fixtures, paired with Bruno Rey’s 1971 Rey chairs, are another hint at the ‘era [in which] modernism tried to marry cultural regionalisms’.
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