Located in an office building by the Liangma River in Beijing, China, Les Morilles French Restaurant has recently undergone a renovation and the new design is both inviting and, oh so very chic.
Receiving Michelin Dining Plate Restaurant awards in 2020 and 2021, Les Morilles combines traditional and new French cooking techniques that also include oriental ingredients and spices. To reflect the award-winning cuisine, Tanzo Space Design, with Wang Daquan as project lead and his team, was commissioned to conceive a revitalised interior but also to create an aesthetic that was sophisticated, refined and comfortable.
The entrance to Les Morilles is discreet, through the small original doorway of the German built Beijing Yansha Building. There is no branding on the exterior, merely a tall heavy door with a brass knob, however, once inside, an air of mystery and drama greets the diner.
Through a dimly lit corridor with a wall washed in a soft orange hue, the visitor enters the dining room with ceilings that arch and overlap. A glass curtain and sliding partition door connects the main dining space with the private dining room and this contemporary inclusion adds modern detailing and layering to the interior.
Inside is a rust-coloured stone tiled floor and the walls are painted a soft grey/white. White partitions edged in black steel separate diners and afford privacy and there are fully upholstered banquettes that have been positioned in niches aside timber plinthed tables and comfortable chairs.
The colour palette of saturated red, orange hues, white and black is both luxurious and soothing and materiality of stone, timber with fabrics of silk, velvet and leather add texture, dimension and warmth.
Lighting is restrained, with simple elongated wall sconces, table lamps and concealed LED strip lighting where walls meet the ceiling. Skylights have been strategically placed, such as in the private dining room, and they become a visual focus, add interest as well as diffused light to spaces.
Beside the bar is an arched window with a vista of pink and blue that is reminiscent of water, a digital work by multi-media artist Chen Xi. The installation is a master inclusion and conjures images of water and serenity to represent Les Morilles’ proximity to the Liangma River and also another river, that of the Seine in Paris.
Tanzo Space Design Office was established in 2006 by Wang Daquan and the creative design agency is well-known for its space-integrated transformational services for hotels, restaurants, galleries, commercial and cultural projects. The studio is a collective of brand, space, art, media and furnishings experts and completed works have received a multitude of awards. Innovation is key to every design and the latest project from the practice is no exception.
While Les Morilles is classically styled, the design has been tempered with an oriental sensibility to suit the site, culture and brand. It is pared back but not austere and colour has been used to supreme effect. Les Morilles is a wonderful place to dine, not just because the food is exceptional but because the restaurant interior is in a word, perfect.
Tanzo Space Design Office