I was in Paris last June and have been wanting to write this post since. I had asked my friends Solène and Philippe if they could take me to some well-designed places they knew in Paris. So we went to La Gaîté Lyrique on a rainy afternoon.

We saw the exhibition Design Oracles which featured 10 product design themes. We then had a drink at the historic foyer bar which Philippe had described as an old theatre in a modern exhibition space. I wasn’t disappointed by the sophisticated yet casual space. The theatre was built in 1861 to the designs of architects Jacques-Ignace Hittorff and Alphonse Cusinand. It used to focus on a variety of theatre shows which evolved over time from melodrama to musical comedy. The building was restored and converted into an arts centre, completed in 2010 with part of the theatre becoming a bar and cafe.

The original Italian style walls, painted ceiling, gold columns and ornaments have been preserved. Modern furniture has been introduced, creating a space full of history yet modernised. The enormous lamps are beautiful and respond well to the arc windows and heavily framed mirrors. I really like the blue light and the projections on the white walls outside the foyer. These create contrast and a pleasant surprise when entering.

I couldn’t find much information about La Gaîté Lyrique’s visual identity but I appreciate its’ simplicity. It is based on three dots used across all different mediums. Their positions and colours can vary which allow a bit of a play but their shape is consistent, creating unity.


3bis Rue Papin, 75003 Paris