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.