The French Laundry’s redesign by Snøhetta is revealed

Chef Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry restaurant in California by Snøhetta
Chef Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry in California has just revealed its first major redesign in over two decades, created by Snøhetta, who designed the new kitchen, annex and landscape; while Kallos Turin were behind the interiors in the annex dining room, pictured here
(Image credit: TBC)

Thomas Keller’s three-starred Michelin restaurant in Yountville, California has been a foodie staple since its opening in 1994. The French Laundry is known for its fine French cuisine and high culinary culture – yet this is the first major design overhaul of the eatery’s headquarters in over two decades.

Enter Snøhetta, whose New York team led the new kitchen design and courtyard renovation. The works have just been completed, unveiling the complex’s major refresh, which ‘doubles the size of the existing landscape’, say the architects. Creating a state-of-the-art restaurant environment was as important as ensuring everything in the service runs smoothly; which is why the architects spent time studying the complex choreography of the restaurant’s functions. 

The project included the creation of a new 2,000 sq ft kitchen annex to house support functions, such as the butchery, produce breakdown, and wine collection. Snøhetta used simple geometries and modern materials and forms, which subtly reference the local agrarian vernacular. Charred wood partly lines the light-filled interior and a curved gypsum fibre-reinforced panel ceiling above conceals functional elements. The shape also improves the space’s acoustics. Custom-designed tables sit within the large open plan space. 

Visitors are greeted by a sequence of gardens that lead them towards the dinning areas. Landscaping includes a grove of Japanese maples and a tactile, weathered stone wall. The manicured garden and broad lawn space also allow for outdoor functions. 

‘The French Laundry has long been recognized for the culture of education and mentorship it provides its staff’, explain the architects. ‘[The] design not only optimizes efficiency but also fosters a meaningful environment for the chefs who work there, setting a stage for cuisine that ignites the senses.'

The courtyard at the French Laundry restaurant in California, which has been revamped by Snøhetta

Snohetta's project involved a new kitchen design and the renovation of the complex’s courtyard

(Image credit: TBC)

Views of The French Laundry restaurant in California

The major refresh ‘doubles the size of the existing landscape’, say the architects

(Image credit: TBC)

The garden at The French Laundry restaurant in California

A sequence of garden spaces lead visitors into the complex and through to the dining area

(Image credit: TBC)

The white kitchen at The French Laundry in California

The new kitchen features a curved white ceiling, which references a tablecloth, while also improving the space’s acoustics 

(Image credit: TBC)

The French Laundry restaurant in California

The architects ensured they studied the complex workings of the kitchen closely in order to create a highly functional design

(Image credit: TBC)


For more information visit the website of Snohetta

Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture & Environment Director at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018), Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020) and House London (2022).