My father was a builder, and my dream as a child was to become an architect. I often used to play with my friends in Notre Dame la Grande in Poitiers, where I lived, and I was blown away by the church’s architecture.
In fact, architecture has always interested me and has always influenced the choice of location and decor for my restaurants, whether in France or abroad. In Tokyo, I set up my restaurants in a replica of a French château, which was built with stones brought from my homeland, Poitou.
The venues for my restaurants have invariably been guided by the local architecture. In Las Vegas, for instance, the architectural concept behind the gourmet restaurant is a French-style private mansion, so it is as though customers were coming to my house.
In Bangkok, the Atelier de Joël Robuchon is located at the foot of the tallest tower in the city, the Mahanakhon Cube, with its incredible hanging gardens and revolutionary architecture.
The restaurant in Bordeaux is housed in a 19th century mansion, La Grand Maison, which is owned by my friend Bernard Magrez. In Macau, the Robuchon au Dôme is on the forty-third floor of the Grand Lisboa Hotel under an amazing dome with stunning views of Macau.
The next Atelier, in Shanghai, will open in the city’s most beautiful art deco building, the Bund18, which was erected in 1923. The Montreal restaurant will be in an outstanding building that served as the French Pavilion at the 1967 World Exposition.
Finally - for the time-being, at least - I am going to open a new Atelier on Lake Geneva in a former hotel from the 1920s, which was later the headquarters of HSBC.
Architecture and design are, for me, major plus points when thinking about my culinary style
Joël Robuchon, Michelin-starred chef and head of a dozen gourmet restaurants worldwide