Pitching The Modernists Against The Traditionalists!

September 25, 2011

Rarely has there been a project that has caused so much division and contention at EMquarters than today’s feature project, which is why we felt we had to share it on our blog, to get your feedback or help us to gain a general consensus of opinion on the project.

The two schools of thought that largely sum up the attitude towards this project in our office are positive and negative.

Positive Views

The project is a unique example of how interior design and architecture should be progressive, gone should the days be when designers were afraid to touch the interiors of listed or historical buildings for fear of upsetting the elitists.  This is a bold project with strong form, gorgeous curvature and expressive colours, the beauty of this project is that it enhances the integrity of the building; it does not detract or damage it. Too often designers are so concerned with designing a project that pays homage or respect to the historical principles of a building rather than an interior that enhances it. This notion of blending in or fitting in with the form of the building has been completely thrown out the window on this project and thus something innovative, unique and progressive has been created. This type of design and this project is a compliment to the building, the sheer contrast alone of the two projects allows each of them to stand out alone on their own merits.

Negative Views

This project is all about making a statement, and that statement is bold, loud, brash and offensive on the high. The furnishings and colour palette alone cheapen the authenticity and integrity of the building, this is a fad, and the design is a fad with no longevity, created simply to shock and awe patrons and passers-by. The concept is fine for a new build or a contemporary project but to create something so lavish and boudoir-esque against such a historical backdrop is a smite at the original architects, buildings such as these should be preserved or enhanced not be left to play host to a fad that will die off once the modernists have moved on to their next nostalgic haunt.

These are the basic extractions of the two schools of thought concerning this project. So what project has caused so much division? It is L’Opera Restaurant in Paris. L’Opera was designed by French architect Odile Decq of Odile DECQ Benoit CORNETTE:Architectes Urbanistes in Paris and is located in the amazing 1,600-seat L’Opera Garnier.

The project cost a whopping $8.2 Million to complete over a three year period. Have a look at the images below and tell us if you think it was money well spent and a progressive innovative project or is this project an expensive expression of arrogance? The majority of us are in the Positive camp, this is progressive design at its very best and an example of a project where designers can be respectful and enhance the integrity of ancient architecture with modern flair.

The photographs below for this project are credited to Roland Halbe a freelance Architectural photographer based in Germany. Any great lovers of Architectural photography should really check out his stunning website here

(We have full permission from Halbe to use these photos, anyone looking to copy them should seek direct permission from Roland Halbe as they are protected by strict copyright)