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A contemporary restaurant lulled by the trade winds

Designed by Thai architect Lek Bunmag, and decorated by Kenzo Takada, Sofitel So Mauritius breaks free from the traditional codes of Mauritius hotel architecture: contemporary lines and tangy citrus colours make this eco-chic venue a definitively modern and innovative place.

An ultra-contemporary restaurant on the water’s edge

Located right on the ocean waterside, the hotel’s restaurant features a spectacular palm roof culminating at a height of 18 metres and also surprises guests with its impressive grooved columns and the absence of walls dividing up the inside space.

Four partitions of about 9 metres by 3.5 metres set the rhythm here and serve as decorative elements channelling pedestrian flow. To decorate these large surface areas and reinforce the contemporary feel of the place, the design director (Accor) was looking for a raw, granular, thick finish such as form-set concrete: a material that would retain the marks from its mould, white, with a light grey tint…

A project full of surprises

Since the venue is totally open to the outside, in a tropical climate, one of the constraints was to find a material capable of withstanding big temperature variations and high relative humidity. To meet this double brief, both technically and artistically, AC Matière design a concrete in its workshop in combination with a resin capable of rendering just the right porous, granular effect. Strips of variable width, and thicknesses of up to 30 mm, were used to create a tempo and emphasise the beautiful perspective of the walls flowing into the ocean.

On-site production turned out to be full of surprises. The team of three AC Matière painters was assisted by nearly ten local masons and painters. Together, we had to meet major technical challenges including a restriction on imported materials, a regulatory ban on using sand from the island, not really great cement, and outdoor working conditions. The result, both chic and ultra-contemporary, doesn’t (unless you’re an expert) give away anything about the challenges we had to overcome to adapt the original sample to local conditions!