A group of friends under 30 years of age worked together to create the Uchronia Café at Maison&Objet. In a conference during the event, they discussed Parisian cafés and how they’ve been slowly reinventing them.
March 24, 2022—During a conference held at Maison&Objet in Paris, the Uchronia collective responsible for a 200m2 café at the event addressed an audience about the French café culture and how they’ve been reinventing it. As invited guests of Maison&Objet for the first time, and still rather young, the group of friends laughed together on stage through descriptions of how they view Parisian cafés and of how the café they created for the event takes visitors into a fanciful world, a tribute to a mythical Parisian terrace.
“The Parisian café, to me, it’s a bad cup of coffee – burned coffee very early in the morning with a stale croissant,” said Chef Julien Sebbag who opened the Forest restaurant for the Moma group on May 25, located on the terrace of the Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris.
“Today, what’s encouraging is there are professionals like Café Nuances that are reinventing the Parisian café with more up-to-date codes of our time. The concept of the Parisian café is in constant evolution.”
An integral part of French society, the café unites the street with the interior, and its terrace is the setting for a room where people observe each other, eat and have fun. The group of friends utilized their allotted square meters of the fair to recreate a Parisian life in the café culture that is ever-evolving.
“It’s mostly a place where we can meet our friends,” said Julien Sebban, architect and president of Uchronia studio, a multidisciplinary collective more than a classical architecture firm.
“In regards to the Parisian café, one of the ideas we had was collaborations. What’s fun about Café Uchronia is we collaborated with a chef, Julien Sebbag from Forest, and Café Nuances in order to create two types of coffee with interesting flavors. We found it amusing to revisit the idea of the Parisian terrace through architecture, through the space we’ve created here, and tastefully with the menu.”
The participation of Café Nuances, known for its originality in Paris with five nuances of artisanal coffee, meant the trio could work together to mix and match until reaching new coffee flavors. Café Nuances uses beans that are sourced ethically, acquired from unique and unchartered sources around the world.
The Uchronia café of Hall 7 combined vibrant, eye-catching colors with forms such as waves and flowers. They separated the café into three main sections: bistro sets for morning coffee, Wave tables for lunch and large stepped seats for relaxing with friends at the end of the day—and remembering the teenage days when we hung out in groups. Indeed, the style rewinds the clock in the visitors’ minds, but we really get a sense of the inspiration they share from the 70s with Woodstock and the 80s with Memphis. The colors and shapes used in the café bring to mind the film Austin Powers from the 90s as well.
Julien Sebbag from Forest sat in the center seat, wearing tall light pink socks with a red heart and the phrase “love me” written on them. His vegan, eco-friendly, in-the-woods, Jesus hairstyle matched the inspiration he felt from an era often reminiscent of freedom. Reviving elements of the past or mixing and matching elements of various time periods seems to be a shared desire for 2022—take La Suite N°4, a 4L concept car by Mathieu Lehanneur for Renault, for example.
In fact, the different colored zones of the café created for the event provide individual stages like varied settings for a play in which performers (visitors) act at every movement while toying with the notion of time from one to the next. Time, in the café, was not meant to be static or mechanical driven, so the bar became an imaginary sundial to guide the ‘performers’ through their journey. While mastering a new look and feel for the Parisian café, the trio added a special touch with respect for the environment and the concerns we’ve had for some time.
The artisan furniture was made by Victor de Rossi, art carpenter, Atelier Roma for the coatings, IREALE for the upholstery. The fabrics used are off-cuts provided by Dedar, the carpets are recycled or recyclable, the furniture, adapted from the Wave collection, is made of MDF and resin, the legs of the bistro tables are mottled. The beautiful, very typically Parisian bistro chairs were from L. Drucker Paris, established in 1885.
“In this type of fair, we often ask ourselves what will come of the ephemeral decoration that is only used one time,” Julien Sebbag, Chef from Forest, said. “What we wanted to do was to recycle the decor so it would have a second life. From this idea, we developed an event sale on the online marketplace Catawiki (2008), an auction-style platform, for an association fighting against cancer.”
All the pieces were resold during an event sale on the Catawiki site and the profits donated to the Raphaël association, for the emotional support of people with serious illnesses. The Catawiki auction ended on Monday. A cheerful, committed and generous place to explore the soul of Generation Z.
Julien Sebbag, Chef cuisinier – Forest
Charles Corrot & Raphaël Corrot, Fondateurs – Café Nuances
Julien Sebban, Architecte & Président – Uchronia
Moderation : Danièle Gerkens