Café Mollien, Louvre Museum, Paris by Mathieu Lehanneur
“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? “ Mathieu Lehanneur.
Located in the Denon Wing of the Louvre Museum, the Café Mollien reopens its doors after a one-month closure for remodeling. Managed by Elior Group and redesigned by Mathieu Lehanneur, the Café is a new venue linking the Carrousel and the Tuileries Gardens with the Louvre and its collection of masterpieces. In this monumental setting of 150m², with its vertiginous ceilings and marble tiled floor punctuated by massive columns, the designer has succeeded in creating a prestigious cafe on a human scale.
After designing the Café ArtScience in Boston, which is currently in the running for the “outstanding bar” award in the US, Mathieu Lehanneur went on to tackle the remodeling of the Café Mollien in the Louvre, the most prestigious monument and museum in Paris. Café Mollien comprises an L-shaped dining room and a 230 terrace offering the best view of the Louvre Pyramid. Inside, 66 seats are arranged around a magnificent brushed-brass, acrylic lighting structure, with organic-like extensions stretching up to 4.5 meters high.
The designer describes these as “three, large pale-pink eggs; luminous and translucent, floating in space and inhabiting the void that separates us from the ceiling, and act as a signal in the Parisian perspective. “
In the alcoves of the tall historic windows, the presence of lacquered wooden benches upholstered in fabric alongside mat-white furniture, is almost “blasphemous in this palace of color”, and seems to set and accentuate the rhythm of the space. The white of the furniture is also echoed in the marble of the 10-meter long bar at the entrance.
Throughout his various assignments, notably in the Church of Melle (UNESCO World Heritage) and the Château Borely in Marseille, and his next mission within the context of the complete remodeling of the Grand Palais in Paris, Lehanneur has proven his ability to re-examine and update the iconic monuments of our heritage.
CAFÉ MOLLIEN, LOUVRE MUSEUM, PARIS, TECHNICAL INFORMATION
Date: May 2016
Name: Café Mollien
Design: Mathieu Lehanneur
Client: Elior Group
Location: Louvre Museum
Number of seats (inside): 66
Seating capacity (terrace): 87
Surface (inside): 150 m2
Surface (terrace): 230 m2
Ceiling height: 6 m
Materials (site): stone, marble, cast iron
Materials (project): brass, marble, wood, fabrics, acrylic.
Notes to editors
Elior Group has grown into one of the world’s leading operators in the catering and support services industry.
 Café ArtScience Boston, US, is on the list of finalists for Outstanding Bar Program at the James Beard Foundation, US.
 Mathieu Lehanneur won the international competition for the restructuring of the Grand Palais, including the National Galleries and the Palais de la Découverte. Project won in partnership with the LAN Architecture agency
About Mathieu Lehanneur
At the forefront of international design scene, Mathieu Lehanneur is one of the few designers of his generation to be able to embrace many fields of creation from the object to architecture, from art to product, from craft to technology. He innovates with spectacular and magical design projects, mixing design, art technology and science for the well being of its users.
He is ranked among the “World 100 top designers and influencers” by Wallpaper and Surface magazines and he is described as the “champion of the intellectual agility in the contemporary design field” by Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator, Department of Architecture and design at MoMA, NY.
Mathieu Lehanneur Office collaborates with prestigious brands such as Nike, Veuve Clicquot, Audemars Piguet, Kenzo, Poltrona Frau, Pullman Hotels, Cartier, Schneider Electric, JCDecaux, Becton Dickinson, or Sony. He is also a partner in several startups in the fields of technology and transport.
Since 2015, he is Chief Designer of Huawei.
His art works are represented by the Carpenters Workshop Gallery.
Mathieu Lehanneur received numerous awards such as the “Grand Prix of the creation of the City of Paris” or “Best Invention Award” by the US magazine Popular Science for “Andrea”, a plants home air filtration system.
He was invited to present his work and his approach at the TED Global conference in 2009. In 2012, a book was devoted to him by Gestalten editions as well as a retrospective exhibition at the Grand Hornu – Innovation and Design Centre, in Belgium.
His projects are among the most important public and private collections such as the MoMA-NY and SFMOMA or the Pompidou Centre and the Museum of Decorative Arts, Paris.
Mathieu Lehanneur just presented a new concept of lighting urban furniture based on solar energy during the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris. He won the competition for the interior design of the Grand Palais, Paris, and is currently working on a boat with hybrid drive, a foldable electric bike, pharmaceutical design …