SEPTIME + FRIENDS
Needless to say being contacted by Septime to work together on their latest project was a bit of an excitement.
' INDEED, IN SPITE OF HIS AGE, BERTRAND GREBAUT IS AN ALREADY CONFIRMED TALENT: AMONG THE YOUNGEST OBTAINING 1 STAR WHILE LEADING L'AGAPÉ, THEN ENTERING THE PRESTIGIOUS RANKING OF WORLD'S 50 BEST RESTAURANTS ONLY 2 YEARS AFTER OPENING HIS OWN, SEPTIME, TOGETHER WITH HIS SOMMELIER FRIEND THEO POURRIAT.'
Attracting clients specifically crossing the globe to taste his spontaneous and delicate cooking style, inspired by his experience with Joel Robuchon and Alain Passard as well as his travels through Asia, he even finds time to be a consultant for others: David Lynch's secret club Silencio or Les Docks trendiest joint Wanderlust.
The immediate success of Septime allowed Bertrand and Theo to broaden their realm by opening a wine bar less than 50m away from the mother's house. Yet, more recently, an opportunity to take over an empty local next door showed up, encouraging them to invest money generated by Septime into a totally new enseigne.
' ENVISIONING COOKING AS A "PERPETUAL PLAYGROUND", THE TEAM NEEDED TO EXPERIMENT EVEN FURTHER AND WANTED THIS NEW LOCATION TO CHANGE IN FORMAT: AFTER A RESTAURANT AND WINE BAR, IT WAS TIME TO OPEN A REFRESHING OYSTER BAR CALLED CLAMATO.'
Man can already predict without too much risk it's going to be a success story, as usual!
' EXPANDING FROM 120SQM TO 150SQM THROUGH AN EXCAVATION PROCESS, THE TOTAL FLOOR AREA BECAME EASIER TO ARRANGE, BY STRICTLY SEPARATING PROGRAMS ON 3 DISTINCT LEVELS: OYSTER BAR ON THE STREET FLOOR, KITCHEN AND COLD ROOMS IN THE BASEMENT, OFFICE AND CHANGING ROOM ON THE TOP FLOOR.'
Intended to mainly serve sea food, the buried kitchen needed no hot air extraction like classical ones, and could merely be mechanically ventilated throughout the basement space, with air entering from the street and being rejected in the courtyard. Used water is collected from the cold room to the kitchen via a long channel, then pumped back up and also extracted in the courtyard. The challenge of creating a kitchen underground being fixed, organizing the floor plan was as simple as splitting the whole space in 2 blocks almost equal in size for kitchen and storage, after having reinforced the building's foundations and pierced load-bearing walls and slabs for accesses.
Regarding the restaurant space itself, proportions led us to enhance the elongated aspect of the volume by creating a bar almost running from the entrance to the back. Divided in 2, the bar is dedicated to food preparation in its first section, and to cocktails in its second. A plates lift directly connects the bar to the kitchen, and a goods lift to the storage space. Customers can either stand or seat on stools all along the bar for a quick fix, or reserve tables with banquettes for a proper stop.
The sequence of all elements takes advantage of the space's length so that from outside, passers-by's attention, whether they come from one side or the other, is either caught by the huge bar or the layout of diner-like tables. However, the tunnel-like vision, possibly uninviting, was avoided with the presence of a large extension along the courtyard, acting as a source of natural light owing to a wide made -to-measure bay window opened towards the garden.
' ONE FACTOR ALSO TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION WAS THE "DESIGN WITHOUT DESIGN" APPROACH MATCHING WITH SEPTIME'S EXPECTATIONS OF WHAT A HOME-LIKE RESTAURANT SHOULD BE.'
The right combination of ingredients had to be precisely picked in this architectural recipe: a smooth camaieu of earth tiles to cover the floor and bar's facade like a water basin ; a raw set of wood planks to cover the ceiling and warm the space up ; an assembly of rusted steel boxes fixed to a mirror wall to visually enlarge the place ; a bluish tinted enduit wall to fill the space with a fresh ocean breeze. Also, to fine-tune the design-less feel, chasing rare materials or finishing techniques, upcycling pieces of furniture, or even denicher elements of decoration on flea markets was essential. Along with the menu which is renewed on a daily basis, the setting should be altered through time and evolves with the users.
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