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Snøhetta Designs Billowing Concrete 'Tablecloth' Ceiling for Brand New French Laundry Restaurant in Sonoma

Can you spy the mini-Thomas Keller scalie? Rendering courtesy Snøhetta.

The saloon-turned-laundromat-turned-Michelin-starred restaurant that is Thomas Keller's French Laundry is getting its first major overhaul in 20 years. The design, by Snøhetta with envelope A+D, replaces the restaurant's supporting buildings with a new expanded kitchen, along with a new outbuilding for a 14,000-bottle wine cellar and offices, plus a revamped courtyard and peekaboo entry sequence that frames the restaurant's iconic blue door. One key of the design is a wavy, abstract white ceiling whose injected-molded-concrete form evokes a tablecloth unfurling. It's about function as well as form: The ceiling's curves make sound travel clearly, so that chefs can better communicate with one another from across the room. The restaurant reopens tonight in the temporary configuration.

Thomas Keller is working in a shipping container during the reno. >>