PARIS — On the outside, Rue du Vertbois in Paris’s third arrondissement will look mostly the same, but the interiors behind its historic storefronts are now undergoing a radical makeover. Cédric Naudon, a French banker and self-described design collector, has tapped the likes of design legends like Ingo Maurer, Paola Navone, Nendo, Atelier Mendini, the Campana Brothers, Tom Dixon, and more to transform the area into La Jeune Rue, a high-concept design and gastronomy destination. Naudon is gutting more than 40 spaces to make way for a Navone-designed Korean street food cart, an Andrea Branzi-designed movie theater, and Jasper Morrison-designed tapas bar, just to name a few, while taking care to preserve the street’s 18th-century facades.
The concept seems incredible, in the most literal sense of the word, a sentiment shared by the designers themselves.
“It’s so magical,” Eugeni Quitllet mused to ARTINFO during the La Jeune Rue press conference Thursday night. “Naudon asked me to do a cheese store. Why me? Why a cheese store?” Although the industrial designer is well versed in neither cheese nor interior design, he “accepted the mission,” and now plans to create a concept fromagerie in which cheese will be sold on a one-on-one basis, sans the usual display case. “Normally we see the cheese in the shop window, and we choose it just because it looks nice; we dont know where it comes from or what it means. Today we want to explain the history of every cheese, every season, why it will be better tomorrow, with what you can eat it with. It needs to be explained.” (And you do get to see it before you take it home with you.)
This mix of haute cuisine with star design power and due respect to the original facades served Naudon well just over a year ago when he opened Le Sergent Recruteur, the two Michelin-starred restaurant he gave Jaime Hayon (who’s contributing a Japanese club to the current project) free reign to design, and its resulting medieval motifs riff on the original architecture of Paris’s normally tourists-only Île Saint-Louis where it’s found. Now stretched to the length of an entire street (plus spillover onto the adjacent Rue Volta and Rue Notre-Dame de Nazareth) Naudon’s recipe for success still seems to be growing. He very recently added London-based youngsters Benjamin Hubert and Paul Cocksedge to his list, and at the time of a press preview on Thursday night, they had already begun scouting their own locations, although their specific projects are yet to be determined. The first shops are scheduled to open at the end of April with another round scheduled to open in September. The full list of confirmed projects is below.
— Janelle Zara (@janellezara)
Image by Janelle Zara and via iTEM PR