January 31, 2015

2014 BOY Winner: Formal Dining

“Why are we even here?” That’s what Interior Design Hall of Fame member Patrick Jouin and architect Sanjit Manku asked themselves when confronted with one of Louis XV’s stud farms. As Manku says, “It was entirely unexpected—to walk in and see the whole central courtyard at once, so austere yet elaborate.” A jolt of pure pleasure. What could the pair possibly add? Quite a lot, it turns out. Though un­deniably stately, the pink sandstone stable was disused and dilapidated. They’d been enlisted to transform it into a restaurant for a very specialized clientele, surgeons visiting the medical start-ups brought together by the cancer-research organization that had leased the entire property.

Jouin and Manku used predominantly natural materials and only a handful of them at that: oak, beech, quartzite, brick, zinc, blackened steel, brass, saddle leather. Colors are neutral: brown, caramel, beige, gray, black, white. The freestanding circular kitchen and eat-in bar lounge share the ground level, while the main dining room is in the former hayloft, under massive oak roof beams that are nothing short of magnificent. Nevertheless, Manku admits, “Many diners don’t like the idea of being sent upstairs.” Accordingly, Jouin adds, “The staircase had to be an invitation, an enticement.” This visual vortex, a shattered swirl of beech strips, is unquestionably the renovation’s focal point. 

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