How do you insert much-needed new catering facilities for visitors into the Palace of Versailles with its glittering interiors by Charles Le Brun and Jules Hardouin Mansart?
Over the past few years, the Palace has introduced contemporary work into the historic interiors, often on a temporary basis, with the Gabriel Chandelier installed as the first permanent contemporary piece in 2013. Designed by Erwan and Ronan Bouroullec and realised by Swarovski, it was the result of a completion to create a contemporary crystal chandelier for the historic Gabriel staircase at the entrance of the Grand Apartments which had always lacked a focal point.
For the Grand Café d’Orléans, Citti architects have created contemporary interiors, using subdued historic colours that resonate with panelling elsewhere in the palace and, taking reference to the grand chandeliers in the Palace, have introduced bold geometric new lighting designed by Daniel Rubin and directed by Sophie Chenel that provides a dramatic new feature to the rooms, also bringing down the apparent height and providing acoustic benefits.
Citti architects, who haave also been responsible for other successful interiors for the Café Richelieu and Le Grand Café in the Musée du Louvre and the Café de l’Ours in the Musee d’Orsey, have achieved a bold and welcome counterbalance between historic and contemporary in this new café.