La Petite Fourchette is a modern French cafe in the heart of Auckland's Britomart.
Inspired by the authentic French "Boulangerie-Pâtisserie' that you find in any town in France, La Petite Fourchette brings a little touch of France right to the heart of Auckland City. Alongside a French styled breakfast and lunch menu, the pâtisserie offers a wide range of sweet and savoury French delicacies for take away or dining in.
All of the delicate pâtisserie and viennoiserie are handmade by the specialist team at its sister outlet in Wynyard Quarter. Displaying these treats was a fundamental part of the brief from the outset and both the design of the space and the selected colour palette play an important role in this function.
The space is organised around a long, custom-made counter, where food is presented either in specialist display cabinets aligned in height or on the countertop itself for room temperature items. Back counter shelving provides further areas for display and store of pastries and baguettes. A largely monochrome palette provides the perfect backdrop to showcase exquisite pastry work, which sits like little jewels on this counter. Tiles and wood finishes provide quiet texture to the space without distracting from the main event. Opposite the counter, banquette seating in soft grey hues create an inviting place to sit and eat. Details and furnishings provide a nod to traditional French shop design and the dark palette creates an inviting and intimate setting.
The dark and tonal approach to colour was decided early on in the design process. The delicate viennoiseries are jewel like in their colour and form and so we wanted the colours and design of the space to highlight these as much as possible. For this reason, the counter colour is the deepest tone in the palette. Resene Nero in gloss is intended to make the counter, and the items it displays, the focal point in the space. Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen in Resene Zeus provides a soft depth to wall finishes, while the banquette seating is in Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss waterborne enamel in Resene Half Stack. The fit-out design and colour palette also ties in with the La Petite Fourchette brand itself, building on the identity created at Wynyard pâtisserie, also designed by MAUD.
The ceiling of the space is exposed, with ventilation ductwork and cabling visible from the cafe interior. To reduce visual distraction, the ceiling and ductwork were painted out in Resene Nero. Suspended decortech panels, also finished in Nero, were added over the counter to provide some acoustic attenuation and to reinforce this as the focal point for the restaurant. Their lower height and subtle texture also helps to draw the eye away from the service aspects of the ceiling above.
A gloss finish was used on the counter cabinetry to highlight these areas. By contrast, other areas are in a matte (ceilings or walls) or semi-gloss (banquette seating) depending on function and how much each area was destined to recede.
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