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Restaurant Bouillon Julien – Paris, France


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London-based designer John Whelan lived in Paris for a decade which, of course, doesn’t make him a Parisian, but it does give him an inside perspective.

With that perspective, he’s bravely guiding a series of French bouillons to an intriguingly confusing combination of decay and novelty.

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A bouillon used to be a slightly less-expensive brasserie, an everyman’s version of the important centre of social life, culture and culinary enjoyment.

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Bouillon Julien in Paris is Whelan’s take on how it would feel if you ‘descended into a hallucinogenic fish tank’, as he has been quoted as describing the restaurant.

The restaurant is a true Parisian landmark, located on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis, and yes, the interior is crazy.

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The strange, faded colours, disparate decorative elements and supremely ugly carpeting all add to a sense of time-earned chaos.

But what we love most is its lovely feel of decay, of being a slightly unkempt backdrop for dramatic lives lived, poems recited, chansons sung and champagne drunk. It’s all a bit too much, yet you wouldn’t want to take anything away from it.

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Whelan’s company, The Guild of Saint Luke, is an affiliation of artists, architects and artisans that operates in both Paris and London.

Bouillon Julien is part of a larger deal to renovate 15 brasseries in France, all owned by Les Grandes Brasseries de l’Est.

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Previously, Whelan’s team has completed the re-imagining of Brasserie Floderer in the 10th arrondissement of  Paris and the Brasserie Excelsior in Reims. Tuija Seipell.

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