Three years ago, we heard of the La Jeune Rue project that aimed at giving rue du Vertbois a unique identity, by handing over each store to a chef and a designer. Smart idea, but it turned out to be a huge flop before it was even launched. We’re now discovering Beaupassage, a “culinary village” of cobbled alleys next to Le Bon Marché, between the very chic rue du Bac and rue de Grenelle. Not really mainstream. Even though the ambition is not the same, this project is based on the same idea of reenchanting urban space.
Beaupassage is first and foremost an high end real estate program. But instead of making it a select and closed property, it was decided to create a commercial space on its first floor. Twenty years ago, it would have featured luxury brands, but our time is different. Mostly French fine food brands have now been selected: cheese shops, butchers, bakers, coffee roasters as well as trendy and gourmet fast casual restaurants. Exclusivity is now equally conveyed by a rare coffee or a designer handbag.
There will also be a gym, ultimate mercantile incarnation of a necessary superego in an environment of pleasure and temptation. Impossible to describe Beaupassage without talking of the very strong signals visitors will discover from the lobby on. Namely: works of art. They will call the public’s attention and give strollers a cultural alibi. Art associated to gastronomy as a new consumption motivation.
What does this project teach us? Art and food are closer and closer. Food can generate the same feelings as luxury products. And food industry transcend the usual opposition between luxury and everyday life, to develop around two new hubs. On one hand, small producers, on the other hand, creators. Earthy tones and craft atmosphere against design and staging. We’ll have to get used to it…