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Café Mollien has been redesigned by Mathieu Lehanneur, a French designer well-known for defying classic sets. In fact, this new space, located on the first-floor landing of the Escalier Mollien, have elements that defy and supplement the grandeur of the historic interiors.
Adjoining the gallery that houses works such as Eugène Delacroix’s “Liberty leading the people” and Théodore Géricault’s “The raft of Medusa”, and surrounded by a decorative cornucopia that includes imposing Corinthian columns, vertiginous ceilings with ornately carved caryatids and atlantes, and La Nymphe de Fontainebleau, a four by two-metre bronze sculpture by 16th century Italian artist Benvenuto Cellini, the 150 square metre L-shape space is surrounded by a magnificence of extraordinary proportions.
Add the impressive views of I. M. Pei’s glass pyramid and the Tuileries Gardens in the distance, and you get a space that defies intervention. Lehanneur’s answer? To design a statement of his own in the form of a lighting sculpture of grand proportions.
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The structure itself features tubular branches of brushed-brass that stretch up to 4.5 meters in height. The piece, centered on the staircase’s main axis for maximum visibility, bravely takes on the grand scale and rich ornamentation of its surroundings without however kowtowing to their Beaux-Arts aesthetic, choosing a sleeker, Art Deco-inspired style instead.
Set in the heart of the Pavillon Mollien, the Café Mollien is located beneath Charles-Louis Müller’s painted ceiling, ‘Glory distributing Palms and Crowns’. The café offers a chance to relax, surrounded by ornately carved caryatids and atlantes.
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