In the early 1900s, the building was a saloon. After prohibition, it became a laundromat. Today, Thomas Keller’s French Laundry is one of the best restaurants in the world, serving $295 fixed price meals in Napa Valley.
Now, the international architecture firm Snøhetta, along with Envelope A+D and Harrison & Koellner, LLC, are leading the restaurant’s first major renovation in 20 years. The core building will remain untouched, but the restaurant will get a new kitchen and revamped garden area—updates, as Keller puts it in the press release, that will ready the business for its next 20 years.
Inspired By The Louvre
The garden’s new outer fence is like a deconstructed home, complete with open-air windows to peek through. Stroll through the garden, and you can pass by the kitchen. What might not be clear in the rendering here is that it’s actually a glass building, inspired by Keller’s affinity for the Louvre’s glass pyramid. On the outside, it’s finished with a hedge-like screenprinted coat of green. Look closely, and you’ll see countless small strokes. Those aren’t leaves, but the paths of each chef’s own hands while cooking, sketched and affixed to the building itself. And on the inside, chefs have 25% more space than before and Dekton quartz antimicrobial counters to keep things clean.