envelope A+D

envelope A+D

Berkeley, CA


The French Laundry

The renovation of the The French Laundry kitchen coincides with its 20th anniversary. More than simply a face-lift, the renovation is a commitment by Chef Keller and his team to continually aim themselves toward the moving target of perfection.

In collaboration with renown international design firm Snohetta, envelope A+D extensively researched of the needs of The French Laundry’s exquisitely skilled staff. Each design decision, from the lips on the sinks to the sculptural ceiling, was made to match and amplify the focused, ordered joyfulness that results in a palpable intensity during service and an ultimate product of unparalleled quality.

THE KITCHEN The kitchen’s area will be increased by 25%, allowing for the core chef team to be in one contiguous room with a visual connection from station to station. A vaunted sweep of a ceiling and large skylights will flood the space with natural light reminiscent of a sanctuary; in this case, in reverence to the meditative making of the kitchen.

A white-on-white palette emphasizes notions of potential and timelessness. All of the working surfaces, walls and flooring of the main kitchen space will be Dekton Quartz. The Chef’s Box is elevated over the kitchen and will be upgraded to a modern glass volume with visual purview over the pass.

A large corner window with a custom-designed fritted glass pattern provides a visual connection to the garden and enhances the feeling of openness in the kitchen, and gives guests a visual sneak peek into the activity of the kitchen from the garden.

THE ANNEX The Kitchen Annex houses support functions like butchery and produce breakdown. It acts as the initial Journaling facility, where ingredients arrive in their rawest state and are brought to their first level of refinement suitable for transformation in the main kitchen. Wine storage for 14,000 bottles, as well as management support for The French Laundry are also located in the Annex.

THE COURTYARD The garden will be doubled in size, allowing for an auto courtyard where guests can be dropped off. The courtyard is lined with almond arbor trees that gently scent the approach to the iconic blue door. Permeable pavers guide guests along a new stone sidewall that includes a large portal where one encounters the fritted corner window that allows views into the kitchen. 

Renderings courtesy of Snohetta

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Status: Built
Location: Yountville, CA, US
Additional Credits: Snohetta, Harrison & Koellner LLC