Awarded 3 Michelin stars since 2010, Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester is one of the UK’s most prestigious restaurants where diners indulge in unrivalled cuisine and impeccable service. A modern, light and elegantly informal setting complements the restaurant’s forward-thinking approach to haute cuisine.
More than a decade on, Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manku of Jouin Manku have revisited their seminal design for the three Michelin-starred restaurant, revitalising the original concept with a touch of magic and sparkle and enhancing the dramatic theatre of the experience.
“A restaurant such as Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester is a place where people go to celebrate the great moments in their lives, or indeed where the great moments happen. The place itself is fused with those memories and while they don’t want them to be erased, they do still want the restaurant to evolve, to feel as magical as it did the first time that they were there. Our challenge then is to keep the soul of the restaurant intact but to make it fresh and new again.”
Thirteen years ago when Jouin and Manku began to develop their concept for Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, they took their inspiration from the great expanse of Hyde Park which the restaurant overlooks and Alain Ducasse’s own vision of a ‘Table Lumière’, a luminous semi-private table in the middle of the restaurant that would transport guests to a special and intimate world apart. The result was an interior that was contemporary and refined and which subtly brought the park inside through decorative wall and lighting treatments and a simple palette that included oak, zinc and cotton, with the shimmering installation of the Table Lumière as its central feature.
Returning to the project, Jouin and Manku noticed how the character of Mayfair, classic and refined, now seemed to have another strand of energy to it that was younger and more modern, particularly with the stronger presence of fashion, and they wondered how they could inject more of that feeling of fashion and glamour into the restaurant’s elegant interior as well as bringing more of the sparkle and luminosity of the Table Lumière out into the rest of the restaurant. Taking inspiration from the idea of a rich atmosphere of fog or a mist through the park and those magical moments in which objects appear and disappear, they began to explore how this atmosphere could drift into the restaurant itself, bringing with it a little more magic and drama.
In the main dining area they made a number of changes to the layout including opening up the room by removing the screen to the main entrance of the restaurant and introducing curved wood and leather banquettes which anchor the tables within the space. In contrast to the dark, smoky colours of the furniture, the green and silver tones of the carpet introduce a freshness and suggestion of mist through the park, progressively darkening to the edges.
To the chandeliers in the private dining room and the dining area immediately overlooking Hyde Park, they added golden leaf petals which create more warmth and a little bit more drama.
Jouin Manku also redesigned the customised trolleys which serve champagne, the Colston Bassett Stilton, fresh infusions or mignardises, just one element in the beautiful pageantry of dining at Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester.
The Table Lumière remains the focus of the main dining area. Lit from within and fading from a dark smoke to white satin at its ends, Table Lumière’s new curtain of cotton threads floats ever so slightly above a luminous glow, reminding perhaps of the subtle delicacy and movement of an elegant cocktail dress.
“I am delighted to partner once again with Jouin Manku to visually bring to life the most recent evolution of Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester. The new concept is a sensorial feast that champions nature’s unrivalled beauty and pays homage to our vibrant Mayfair location.” Alain Ducasse.