Declutter the table to allow the eye to focus on the essential, and surprise the guest with a little unexpected roughness and texture... With tableware that’s entirely designed to serve the pleasure of the diner.
The large majority of the tableware items are by Pieter Stockmans. His collaboration with Alain Ducasse which dates back more than a decade has created a real sense of complicity between the porcelain-maker and the chef. He especially appreciates his keen eye and high standards. For the restaurant at the Meurice Hotel, Alain Ducasse has opted for very simple forms, to which Pieter Stockmans has added his own special touch. For example, the shape of the O'reille plate with its slightly oval design is a remarkable technical feat. And the rough porcelain of the Disk plate is embellished with a shower of gold to give it a noble appearance.
All the pieces are made entirely by hand. As a result, every piece is slightly different, each expressing the hand of the craftsman in its own special way. In the words of the designer, Pieter Stockmans: “At our studio, everyone has to be creative”. He adds: “What drives the creative process is the material and the object’s function. We find ideas as we work with the clay. We’re always looking to push the boundaries of design”. The Nautilus plate is a good example of this approach: its matte appearance, rough texture and above all its unexpectedly shaped ‘well’ make it unique. Its manufacturing process is one of Stockmans’ jealously guarded secrets.
The dessert-ware marks a clear break with convention, with white giving way to black. The dessert plates are by J.L Coquet, the acclaimed manufacturer of Limoges porcelain. For the dessert, crispy lace crêpes are presented in an intricate silver crate, resulting in an unexpected combination of noble and everyday materials.
The elegant crystalline wine glasses have been especially made for the restaurant by MD Crystal. The water glasses are by Carlo Moretti, the Murano glassmaker who has mastered the very special technique of obtaining different colours within uniquely shaped creations.
The table also features two other particularly beautiful and original tableware items. One is the butter dish, handcrafted by Mustapha Messaoudi, stone craftsman and founder of the Var-based company Lou Mortié, recognised by France’s chefs association for culinary quality, Le Collège Culinaire de France. The dish’s daringly simple shape – an uncomplicated parallelepiped – is a nod to traditionally shaped Parisian paving stones. The second tableware item is the bread tray in the form of a simple board, which has equally clean lines and features a matte finish and soft feel. The tray is made of resin and was designed by the Californian Tina Frey.
The table decoration changes depending on the meal being served. On the lunch table, guests can find magnificent copper cake moulds taken from Alain Ducasse’s personal collection. In the evening, the vegetables are placed on a beautiful yew wood table from the Château de Versailles – a tribute on the part of Alain Ducasse to nature, which has always been one of his great sources of inspiration.