Le Café Mollien at Louvre Museum, Paris

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Le Café Mollien at Louvre Museum, Paris

Mathieu Lehanneur offers a masterclass in harmonising contemporary design with the weight of history...

Wow. Talk about the weight of expectation. Sometimes a venue is set to overpower whatever you place in it. Even the world’s most famous piece of art. Anyone who has seen Mona Lisa in the flesh will know, its home for the last 219 years is as monumental as a space can be.

Le Café Mollien at Louvre Museum, Paris

It is the world’s largest, most famous, most iconic museum. It is an instantly recognisable landmark that enthrals, engrosses, transfixes. How can a designer ‘add’ to the Louvre? Charged with this intimidating task, world-renowned creative Mathieu Lehanneur has pulled off the seemingly impossible — his organic-like brushed-brass, acrylic lighting structure a work of art in itself.

It consists of, as Lehanneur explains, ‘three large pale-pink eggs; luminous and translucent, floating in space and inhabiting the void that separates us from the ceiling,’ and is accompanied, simply, by matt-white furniture (accented by a regal touch of gold), and upholstered banquettes. It’s a masterclass in harmonising contemporary design with the most overwhelming of settings; its magnificence duly noted by the designer: ‘Standing on the landing of the monumental Mollien double staircase built in stone and bronze, with a labyrinth of the finest art galleries in the world stretching ahead of you; the most spectacular, never-ending view over the Tuileries Gardens at your back, and the haunting soul of the nearby Mona Lisa floating through the air … what more could you ask for?’

@MuseeLouvre

Cafe Mollien Paris
Café Mollien Louvre Museum
Café Mollien Louvre Museum

Photography, Michel Giesbrecht

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