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02 Jan 2019

The sophisticated tastes of Roche Bobois

Words by  Photo by Gilles Trillard

The French retailer's new take on the minibar for the Fauchon hotel lives up to the gourmet brand's reputation for Parisian indulgence

The Fauchon name is synonymous with luxury French food, but after moving into the hospitality industry, the upscale brand now offers the best in gastronomy and leisure in the heart of Paris.

Fauchon L’Hôtel Paris – the brand’s first five-star hotel – opened its doors in the 8th arrondissement in September 2018, just a stone’s throw from the birthplace of the Fauchon brand’s first delicatessen.

Offering a gourmet experience in contemporary, art-centric surroundings, Fauchon L’Hôtel enables guests not only to taste, but to live the Fauchon experience.

Each of the 54 bedrooms in the hotel has been designed with form and function in mind.

The distinguishing feature, however, is the Gourmet Bar that sees a contemporary take on the minibar, designed by Sacha Lakic at French retailer Roche Bobois – a brand exhibiting at this year’s Design Joburg.

photo 5xA matt black interior frames the Fauchon delicacies. Photo: Gilles Trillard

“When you think about the leader in French ‘gastronomie de luxe,’ the first name that comes to mind is Fauchon. When you think of luxury French contemporary furniture, the first name that comes to mind is Roche Bobois”, Lakic explains, noting that the collaboration felt “obvious”.

After working with Roche Bobois on a number of ambitious projects and becoming known for his bold, vibrant and dynamic designs, Lakic was personally selected for the Fauchon project.

Inspired by Roche Bobois’ signature pink element, Lakic wanted to create a design that was as beautiful as it was practical, something he describes as “the wow effect”.

He explains: “The Gourmet Bar was designed to be the centrepiece of the room. Its exterior was designed to look luxurious and also to make people curious.”

Lakic wanted the bar to be attractive, but not to reveal its function at the first impression.

“Once you open the Gourmet Bar you have the unexpected revelation, with a huge range of Fauchon gourmet products inside,” he says.

While keeping Roche Bobois’ signature pink in mind throughout the project, Lakic’s inspiration for the colour scheme was also inspired by facets of precious stones used in jewellery.

This idea is further referenced in the geometric shapes on the front panel: “The exterior of the Gourmet Bar is shaped like cushion-cut facets of a jewel. Overall, the colour, the shape, the texture of the material used is symbolic of luxury.”

Lakic created this exterior out of thermoformed Daquacryl, a Roche Bobois exclusive material that has played a prominent part in other collections, such as its Speed Up sideboard and Lift collection.

“I really love to use Daquacryl,” says Lakic. “You can shape it however you want, it’s very similar to lacquer and it reflects light beautifully. Also, a major plus is that it is available in plenty of colours and finishes”.

Opening the doors of the Gourmet Bar is akin to uncovering secrets within a velvet-lined locket.

Set against a striking matt black finish – split into three compartments and a central drawer unit – the interior vastly contrasts with the jewel-like facade.

photo 3xThe pink Daquacryl exterior is shaped like facets of a jewel. Photo: Gilles Trillard

The black background is juxtaposed against the lacquer-look pink and showcases Fauchon’s gourmet products like a backdrop for a photo shoot.

Lakic explains how the colour choice of the Gourmet Bar was chosen to make the furniture “disappear” when you open it and appear almost like a retail display case.

The bar exudes luxury on the first appearance, exhibiting sweet and savoury Fauchon delicacies, while the drawers store tea bags, coffee capsules and other beverages.

Lakic and his team worked on this project for almost a year, and since the hotel opened its doors in September, the Gourmet Bar has been extremely well received by guests.

“In fact, it has become a sellable feature for the hotel,” says Lakic, “and people especially stay at the Fauchon hotel to experience the Gourmet Bar.”

Based on the success of the Gourmet Bar and the demand it has created, Roche Bobois is now considering putting the appliance into production for their retail stores.

This impressive outcome will mean that everyone can own a little bit of Parisian-inspired luxury in their own homes, and it is an exciting possibility for Lakic: “Roche Bobois, as a brand, is always so fresh and interesting. Every time you visit the store, there are new collections being launched.”

Roche Bobois aims to focus on more luxury commercial projects in the hope of growing a new side of the business.

A collaboration with a major luxury brand such as Fauchon is precisely the kind of partnership that can open doors for other exciting relationships.

In this case they will, no doubt, go from strength to strength.

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