Design like this makes my heart sing. It reminds of my days at Parson’s where my teachers pushed us to go outside the box- “don’t take your designs too serious,” “a little whimsy never hurt,” my teacher’s would say to me. It was an exciting time and one of the reasons I started my career working in commercial design. Designing restaurants and retails stores gave me an immediate rush; the pace was crazy fast and exciting, you were always collaborating with new artists, pushing the unknown, exploring new ways to use different materials. There seemed to always be a pull toward taking design boundaries further than before- a wider span to explore and grow, yet all the while adhering to strict design principles.
I was in heaven.
It’s not too often you see an interior space, let alone a restaurant, (especially in San Francisco) that doesn’t take itself too literal. With all the seriousness around food these days… (farm to table, local, seasonal) there seems to be a loss of whimsy and play in commercial spaces. We CAN still take our food serious without losing touch of what restaurant design CAN mean. If I see one more “salvaged” farm table I’m going to lose it. I get it, the food is the focus but as a designer, I want to be transported, if only for an hour or two that I’m eating in a restaurant. It is something I relish when I get the opportunity but I find it less and less in the city I call home. That’s where The Gallery comes in to save me from my restaurant boredom.
Conceived by French chef Pierre Gagnaire and restaurateur Mourad Mazouz, The Gallery at sketch is part of a long-term program of artist-conceived restaurants located in a converted 18th century building in Mayfair, London. Complex and unique, the site has attracted unprecedented media reaction for its myriad food, drink and entertainment styles since it opened in December 2002.
Brit artist David Shrigley, created 239 new works of art in his usual unavailing, slightly bizarre, yet humorous drawings that line the restaurants walls, forming the largest group of this original artwork ever exhibited. Shrigley, is kinda my artist crush, his unconventional, humorous, yet deliberate line drawings extend to the dining tables as an exhibition space for new work by himself and Chef Gagnaire. India Mahdavi, who has created a backdrop for Shrigley’s artwork, conceived a soothing, monochromatic, strikingly comprehensive interior. I’ve always had a thing for monochromatic. To be able to play with layering one color palette is much harder than it looks. The classic, almost bourgeois design invites a deliberately playful contrast with the witty, outré art works; all is most certainly not what it seems.
The Galley at sketch is located at:
9 conduit street
london w1s 2xg
Afternoon Tea – Monday to Sunday – 12.30pm to 4.30pm
Dinner – Monday to Saturday – 6.30pm to 2am, Sunday – 6pm to 12am
To learn more about the project, check out sketch.