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Mandarin Oriental

Mandarin Oriental Group - Paris


The Mandarin Oriental, Paris is situated at 251 rue Saint-Honoré, right in the heart of Paris, a few steps from Place Vendôme and its prestigious jewelers. It is owned by the Société Foncière Lyonnaise. Jean-Michel Wilmotte was responsible for the renovation of what had previously been a block of office buildings, which he transformed into this highly contemporary hotel based around a large courtyard garden.

Our first emotion on entering this place was surprise because it is rare that the luxury of nature can be admired in the heart of a city. It felt enchanting. This sensation would be revisited in each zone entrusted to us in a new way. A specific choreography of emotions and experiences greets the visitors in each of the spaces.

Next to the garden, there is a restaurant open from morning to evening, which catches the daylight. Later it will be named Camélia. Opposite, the Bar 8 rests in its shade. Here nature becomes strange and sensual in contact with a flowing body of minerals. In a more remote place, around a small courtyard, we will create the restaurant for Thierry Marx. With its uncharacteristic volumes, it will become a space of experimentation around the use of fabric as a material of architecture. Le Sur Mesure.
This sketch, prepared for the competition, was presented on February 26, 2007.

The Camélia

How do you create a space that is as comfortable and relaxing in the day as it is dramatic in the evening? We simply looked out of the window for inspiration, taking clues from the garden. Its apparent simplicity, the play of two colors – green and white – that yield a multitude of emotions and effects. So here we tried to bring the outside in, and the inside out, blurring the lines between them.
Giant white petals line the walls and wrap around a stone, wood, and enameled-metal cooking island. This exuberance is balanced by an expanse of austere stone and wood. This makes for a simple space, made of three materials, that produces an almost sepia photograph-like atmosphere. A marriage of forms from the beginning of time wrapping around and mixing with shapes from the twenty-first century. All to make a project that feels effortless.

The garden

At the heart of the hotel lies the garden, a sumptuous and wild place imagined in collaboration with landscape architects Neveux Rouyer. The terrace is a place to get lost in – a place to hide away for an afternoon or simply to spend an evening with the stars, the clouds, and your lover. Within the garden, we carved out a series of voids among the lush vegetation. Some are private, some are for spying, and yet others are stages for performances. One, in particular, is made simply to make you smile.
The birdcage, as we call it, is a three-story-tall private dining room on a pedestal. A folly placed at the end of the garden that creates a space that is intimate and extroverted at the same time. It was conceived as an element of joy in the middle of a small paradise. Together, the garden and its islands create a series of modern interlinked spaces that make you forget the world outside. While they are part fantasy, at the same time, they make up the types of places one longs for when living in Paris.


Originally inspired by a photo of the sensual inside of an oyster, the bar was intended to be dark and slinky – a place full of reflections and glistening highlights. A place where you feel your way around the room. It was conceived as a space sculpted by water – water flowing around and molding a giant boulder, a piece of the earth sitting at the center of the bar. Something immovable yet fine and delicate. To this, we added support in the form of wood and glass, which led us further, and we added the feeling of a forest after rain to the project.
All these ideas merged together to create a project that parries weight with lightness. Brutal mass blends with fairy-like fluidity and grace to make a space that is neither masculine nor feminine, but elemental.

Sur mesure

While the other spaces in the project were inspired by the terrestrial, Sur Mesure was inspired by the celestial. We set about trying to make a space that would take clients on a voyage. We wanted to create a space where gravity had less of a pull on us. We wanted to make an introduction to the extraordinary adventures that diners were about to embark on with Thierry’s cuisine. But how?
We decided to use just one material. One simple material that each of us has seen every day since we were born: white cotton. Could we make a symphony with this incredibly common yet noble material? By wrapping the whole space in one material, one color, one invariably enters a new world. Cosy, inviting, yet thoroughly contemporary.
The project was inspired by the world of Parisian fashion and tailoring that at times renders the design strict and formal and at other times loose and deconstructed. Informal. After all the research and development, the result is simply like walking into a cloud. An architecture of fabric that feels comforting yet cutting edge.


The petals

First computer-modeled, then made to 1/1 scale in plaster, the fourteen giant petals, all different, were designed by Sofrastyl. To produce them, we had to create a mold and a counter-mold for each one. The staff was sprayed, then smoothed and reworked by hand.
Just as complex, their layout and fastening required the technical skills of locksmiths Desmoineaux, to create an idea of lightness and simplicity.

The birdcage

The three-storey-high "birdcage" built by Desmoinaux required the use of a crane for its installation.

Fluid mass

Initially designed and computer-modeled in our Paris office, the bar required the extraction of a hundred-tonne monolith of Pulpi grey marble from a quarry in Spain, then transported to Italy to be cut and shaped. Only grey marble extracted from the Castellón quarries in Santa Magdalena de Pulpi, with its white veining, had the characteristics we were looking for. The initial 100-ton monolith was transformed into a 9-ton piece.

Wrapped in fabric

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Mandarin Oriental Group 

Interior architecture and design      

Jouin Manku
Patrick Jouin
Sanjit Manku
Tania Cohen
Pascal Legrand
Simon Caillaud
Hueting Chang
Virginie Renaut
Yann Brossier
Bruno Pimpanini

Executive architectGroupe SLH

Project manager   Société Foncière Lyonnaise

ChefThierry Marx

Craftsmen and companies
We would also like to thank all the companies
companies with whom we collaborated
in the creation of these spaces:
Ateliers Pinton, Akène, Akonite, Briatte,
Francesco del Bubba, Cambium, Cassina,
CMA, Cofravin, Conseil Restauration, Coteba,
Cristallerie Schweitzer, Desmoinaux, Delfino,
DPA, Ellipse, Enzyme, Ercuis, Erlacher, Feuring,
Federal Mogul, Fonderie Huguenin, H Deco,
ICA s.p.a, Intérieurement Vôtre,
Jacquard Français, Lafarge, Lallier,
Lalique, Laval, Le Carlier, Le Dantec, Ligne Roset,
Marmoles Serrat sl., Matinox, Metal Composite,
Murano Due, Orfèvrerie de France, Pemart,
Puiforcat, Raynaud, Rocacher, S.C.O, S.C.S,
Seeger, Siegeair, SLH, Sofrastyl, Heidi Winge Strøm
and Gregory Lacoua, Werey Stenger
and the Academia Delle Belle Arti of Carrara,
including Mr Marchetti and Mr Menconi.

FurniturePatrick Jouin iD



Mandarin Oriental Paris - Jouin Manku © Hélène Hilaire