La Riviera, «We Call it the South»

La Riviera, «We Call it the South»

La Riviera. Just to read the name of this new restaurant in the Lafayette quarter is enough to transport you 800 kms away. Menton, Madrague, Juan-Les-Pins-Saint-Tropez: all these names on the menu help us to imagine where we could be eating. A promise of Southern sunshine… but on the borders of Paris’ 9th and 10th arrondissements. A promise fulfilled by this establishment, which serves its own take on Southern France specialities; a mix of Provencal gastro pub and pizzeria. More than just another food outlet concept, La Riviera instantly transports us away. And it does so as soon as you go through the door, taking you far from the rush of the road used daily by thousands of Parisians. For this exceptional transformation, which hugely enhances the sunny and generous dishes prepared by the chef Aurélien Jame, La Riviera has a pair of female interior designers to thank. Take note of their names: Virginie Friedmann and Delphine Versace. Founders of the Friedmann & Versace studio, the two partners, who both learned their craft under Michael Malapert, each drew from their personal experience to bring life to La Riviera. Mental pictures of a childhood spent at the seaside for one, and of big tables laid out under parasol pines for the other. A perfect picture postcard into which we are immersed thanks to the unique harmony of materials, colours, furniture and decorative objects created by the interior designers. This place is genuinely immersive; here, it’s Summer all year round and La Riviera celebrates pleasure in all its forms. The real achievement is that there is something for everyone. Whether you love the fine detail of a piece of furniture discovered at auction, or the finesse of a dish of fresh pasta with lobster.

La Riviera, 118 rue Lafayette, 75010 Paris. Opening times: Sunday – Wednesday, from 7am to midnight. Thursday – Saturday, from 8am to 1am. Reservations: [email protected], tel. 01.42.63.06.05.

Façade La Riviera Restaurant Paris Friedmann & Versace
Salon Table La Riviera Restaurant Paris Friedmann & Versace
Canapé Table La Riviera Restaurant Paris Friedmann & Versace

Delphine, Virginie: can you both tell us about your background?

Delphine

I am a graduate of the beaux-arts, and I started my career as a scenographer in the contemporary art world before dedicating myself eight years ago to the design of living spaces. I have contributed to the opening of about thirty establishments.

Virginie

After 10 years of working with luxury brands to enhance their image and dramatize their products, I turned to interior design, driven by the same desire to participate in the development of new concepts.

How did Friedmann and Versace, your interior design agency, come into being?

Virginie

We met in the office of Michael Malapert, the architect. Then, each of us decided to spread our wings on our own.

Delphine

A few months later, Virginie called me to join her on the Baby Doll club project. Since then, we have remained together and have been working on a series of projects.

How do you approach your projects?

Delphine & Virginie

Once we have gathered as much information as possible from our client, discovered their needs and expectations and understood their preferences, we begin the process of writing this new story illustrated by images (ambience, colours, architecture) and a mood board of materials. Each project has its own unique story, and we try to create “lifestyle” places with a strong identity, a soul and a personality. The challenge is to ensure that the story is coherent and perceptible in the overall experience. This is why, beyond decoration, we like to intervene in a more holistic way: on the graphic identity (logo, menu, signage), the choice of tableware and also sometimes the musical atmosphere, such as at Baby Doll, for example.

La Riviera, «We Call it the South»
Portrait La Riviera Restaurant Paris Friedmann & Versace
Bar La Riviera Restaurant Paris Friedmann & Versace
Bar La Riviera Restaurant Paris Friedmann & Versace

What was your favourite step in that one?

Delphine & Virginie

When the bar emerged in the middle of the still empty space!

What elements would we find on the mood board for La Riviera?

Delphine & Virginie

For us, La Riviera represents the promise of endless summer. A bohemian, elegant way of life. A large, warm and friendly house on the Mediterranean coast, full of joyful sounds, filled with the smell of eucalyptus trees and light, with Joséphine Baker’s “You’re Driving Me Crazy” in the background. We were inspired by the terracotta claustras, the limewash with its different shades of white that recapture this sunny atmosphere, the architecture of the cruise ships, the universe of Jean Cocteau…

How did you orchestrate the curation of the artwork?

Delphine & Virginie

We buy pieces regularly throughout the year in galleries, at Drouot or at flea markets. Sometimes we select them without knowing their destination, and often they seem to be obvious choices. On La Riviera project, there are pieces from the Jas des Roberts flea market, a gallery in Lyon, the Puces de Saint-Ouen and a garage sale in Italy. And then we select pieces by artists we love too. We also brought in Redfield and Dattner to create a work on the wall.

And what about the furniture?

Delphine & Virginie

We mix styles and periods while ensuring that there is harmony. The chairs with the rush backrests evoke warmth and refer to the South. The blue sofa and the armchairs around the yellow onyx table are more luxurious. They transport us to an elegant world, a refined place with a taste for sharing and conviviality. The masonry seat, with its sausage-style backrest and velvet seat, offers a contrast of shape and material. It is inspired both by the stone-built furniture of the villas in the South and by Ubald Klug’s sofa.

Chaise La Riviera Restaurant Paris Friedmann & Versace
La Riviera, «We Call it the South»
La Riviera, «We Call it the South»

Were you already familiar with the Magenta/Lafayette district before this project?

Delphine

Our offices are not far away! It is a lively neighbourhood that has developed significantly in recent years. The only problem is the traffic. That’s why we tried to create an immersive space that provides a real change of scenery.

La Riviera, what does that mean to each of you?

Virginie

The sun, the warmth, the memories of holidays, a large table under a pine umbrella, the friendliness, the sweetness of life.

Delphine

My childhood by the sea, the Promenade des Anglais, the specialities of the South, and so many other things!

And in reality, what is the essence, what is unique about this restaurant?

Virginie

An open kitchen that allows guests to experience the flavours of the South. The recipes are Mediterranean-inspired, the dishes generous and made with quality products.

Where will we find you in 2020?

Delphine & Virginie

We have two restaurant projects on the go. One in the VIIIᵉ arrondissement, is designed like the winter garden of an Estancia, a very sunny place. The second one is in the XIIIᵉ. We have designed it just as a warm and elegant country house with a fireplace and huge sofas. We are also thinking about two properties near Paris, a skin studio concept and a showcase for the Lutetia.

Plat Pizza La Riviera Restaurant Paris Friedmann & Versace
Bar La Riviera Restaurant Paris Friedmann & Versace
Bar La Riviera Restaurant Paris Friedmann & Versace

We were inspired by the terracotta claustras, the limewash with its different shades of white that recapture this sunny atmosphere, the architecture of the cruise ships, the universe of Jean Cocteau (...)

Salle La Riviera Restaurant Paris Friedmann & Versace
La Riviera, «We Call it the South»
La Riviera, «We Call it the South»

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