Phantom Opera Garnier Restaurant has been conceptualized and designed by French architect Odile Decq Benoit Cornette Architects (ODBC). The architect had to deal with many constraints as it was forbidden to touch or alter the original structure as the restaurant needed to be “reversible”. Working within construction limitations and standards applied to French historic buildings is challenging, to say the least. Thus, there is no visible structure and the restaurant sorts of floats above the ground.
Accommodating and seating 90 guests at one time, the large floor plate is suspended with concealed steel plates. A glass wall encompasses the interior isolating the space from the existing shell.
The billowing white structure touches down to the lower level producing integrated organic supports. the striking red chairs, benches, and floors produce a theatrical character reminiscent of the Phantom of the Opera which was once performed within the auditorium.
The facade of the restaurant is a veil of undulating glass, sliding between each pillar. With no visible structure, the glass is held in place by a single strip of bent steel running along the arched curve of the ceiling. This steel strip is fixed to the upper cornices of the columns 6 meters above the ground with stainless steel connecting rods.
The mezzanine was therefore created as a continuous surface. Narrow columns extend upwards towards the molded plaster hull, which curves to form the edges of the handrail. This vessel, which has been slipped under the cupola, is a cloud formation floating between the existing elements of the room without touching them.
It’s an allusion to the changing form of the phantom, whose white veil glides surreptitiously in space. Quietly, almost insidiously, the soft protean curves of the mezzanine cover the space with a volume that arches, undulates, and floats above the guests. The space is open and turned outward.