mathieu lehanneur installs 4.5-meter high lamps at the louvre’s café mollien in paris
(above) the café is located in the landing of the bronze and stone staircase
image © michel giesbrecht




restaurant interiors: located in the denon wing of the louvre museum in paris, the ‘café mollien’ has reopened its doors to the thousands of visitors that arrive every year to this emblematic space. managed by elior group and redesigned by mathieu lehanneur, the café bonds the museum’s galleries holding some of the most exciting art pieces in history with the tuileries gardens. called the ‘champion of the intellectual agility in the contemporary design field’ by paola antonelli, senior curator, department of architecture and design at MoMA new york, the paris-based designer moves along the many creative fields, creating projects that range from architecture to art to product, mixing design and art with technology and science. ‘I don’t want to be a specialist of anything, I am a specialist of nothing,’ commented the designer to designboom.

the café bonds the museum’s galleries with the tuileries gardens
image © michel giesbrecht




comprised of an L-shape dining room and a 230-meter terrace, the remodeling of the café included the installation of a 4.5 meter-high brushed-brass, acrylic lighting structure that takes away the pressure of the void. this element is visible from the exhibition rooms thanks to the three big balls of light that keep the perspective open. mathieu lehanneur describes them 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.’

the remodeling of the café included the installation of a 4.5 meter-high brushed-brass, acrylic lighting structure
image © michel giesbrecht




the furniture selection went more on a light and white concept, defining and highlighting the rhythm of the space, as well as creating a dialogue with the 10-meter long marble bar at the entrance. the 150 square-meter setting, with its vertiginous ceilings and marbled tiled floors that are punctuated by massive columns are now softened with the clever addition of the lamps and furniture.

big columns puncture the setting
image © michel giesbrecht

the brushed-brass, acrylic lighting structure that takes away the pressure of the void
image © michel giesbrecht

mathiue lehanneur describes the lamps as three, large pale-pink eggs
image © michel giesbrecht

the large windows have views to paris
image © michel giesbrecht

all-white mat furniture was selecting, creating a paradox with the colorfulness of the space
image © michel giesbrecht

the terrace can seat 87 persons
image © michel giesbrecht

both the lamps and the furniture highlight the rhythym of the space
image © michel giesbrecht

general view of the café
image © michel giesbrecht

café mollien menu
image © michel giesbrecht




project information:


name: café mollien
design: mathieu lehanneur
client: elior group

completition date: may 2016
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.