Hired as Creative Director for the Chaya Restaurant Group, owner of the pioneering macrobiotic M Café brand, Valentin re-imagined the entire branding and decor, bringing on a talented team that included illustrator Julien Roux and graphic design agency Content Is Relative. The objective was to provide a more playful and Japanese twist to the brand and to ensure that the interiors of the Café, initially treated as a French bakery, would convey a solid contemporary identity. This was done through covering the outdoor patio with a wood pergola that also functions as a vertical aromatic garden, covering the interior walls with traditional Japanese stucco, replacing the café's wood floors with mosaic decorative tiles. A non-matching set of Mid-Century school chairs painted in bright yellow was paired with Donald-Judd-inspired tables with ironic built-in planters. The dialogue between finishes and natural wood surfaces provides the entire restaurant with elemental sturdiness while retaining a uniquely Japanese elegance. The same playfulness and singularity of the restaurant resonates in the newly launched M Café website that Valentin directed.
(photos courtesy of Sean Pierce)