International design firm Snøhetta has been chosen to work along with Envelope A +D and Harrison, Koellner, LLC to renovate the legendary French Laundry. Once completed, the landmark restaurant will have an expanded courtyard and kitchen, along with a new wine cellar, offices and new landscaping to enhance the iconic French Laundry blue door. Although the restaurant itself will remain untouched, the renovation will include new solar panels and green fuel cell power, along with an expansion of the existing geothermal loop.
Thomas Keller said that he was inspired by the Louvre Pyramid to find a smart way to marry modern and historic design in his own space. “The French Laundry is being redesigned to be a backdrop worthy of the restaurant’s history. With the Louvre Pyramid as my inspiration, we wanted to find a way to juxtapose the historic and the modern while maintaining the high quality cuisine and service our guests have come to expect from The French Laundry. The new design will be an innovative and functioning space that will allow us to continue to evolve as a restaurant and develop new standards,” he said.
The new design is all about form and function. The kitchen is getting a new vaulted ceiling that looks like a white table cloth being unfurled across a table. The new ceilings will also let in more natural light and help dampen the sounds of the kitchen. The kitchen itself will be expanded to provide everyone working there with more room to move around. During construction, the restaurant will utilize shipping containers as temporary housing to keep things running.
Outside, a new courtyard will create focus to guide people toward the restaurant’s famous blue door. The landscaping remodel will expand the existing gardens and create a new drop-off for guests.
“By designing and constructing a new kitchen, arrival courtyard and auxiliary building that will complement in many ways the historic value and elements of our beautiful French Laundry, we now clean the slate, begin anew, and ready ourselves for the next 20 years,” Chef Keller said.