Sculptural shapes meet rich hues at Maison François, a new brasserie and wine bar in London’s St James’s, which has postmodernist and brutalist influences.
Design studio GSL created its interiors, which draws on Ricardo Bofill’s postmodernist masterpiece La Fabrica. It has grand terracotta wall arches and a rough cement coffered ceiling, which recall the brutalist architecture of the renovated Spanish factory.
The London restaurant is a free-flowing space, with an open kitchen to ‘show off the cooking,’ curved banquette seating and 20ft-high ceilings. The layout is influenced by the restaurant’s style of service, which has a relaxed approach, with both chefs and waiters serving plates, and drinks being mixed at a dispensary bar.
Named after its founder François O’Neill, Maison François has a decadent and warm palette, which evokes the classic French brasseries of the past. There are mirrored arches, Art Deco-style chandeliers, lacquered timber tables, and mahogany and glass panelled kitchen and lobby canopies. The downstairs bar, Frank’s, meanwhile, is a rawer, ambient space, with whitewashed brick walls.
According to designer John Whelan of GSL, ‘every element from the banquette seating to the clock needed to be twisted in the direction of postmodernism’. For the bronze wall clock focal point, inspiration was taken from a 1970s Rado watch, and the walnut ‘privacy uppers’ of the banquettes were inspired by pews in a modernist German church.
With a kitchen run by 2018 Masterchef: the Professionals finalist Matthew Ryle, its menu features Loch Ryan oysters, rustic house terrines and wood fire-cooked dishes, including poulet roti and frites and fillet of John Dory. There’s also brasserie classics such as jambon noir de Bigorre, and handmade pasta dishes such as ravioli dauphine with Comté and black pepper.