Co.Design

Zut Alors! McDonald's Unveils High-Design Concept Store In France

Designed by Patrick Norguet, the concept aims to reestablish the fast-food giant as a family restaurant.

In the battle between José Bové, the French antiglobalism activist, and his bête noire, McDonald’s, there’s no question that the fast-food giant emerged victorious. Today, France has effectively declared its love for Le Big Mac, becoming the No. 2 McDonald’s consumer in the world. To be fair, McDo—as the French call it—has changed things up to woo discerning customers: It sources most of its ingredients from French farmers and recently introduced 130 McCafés featuring espresso and pastries (we’re talking macarons here, not deep-fried apple pies). And now, it’s even classing up its interiors, with the help of Paris-based designer Patrick Norguet.

The new identity is an attempt to recast McDo as a family restaurant, rather than a teenage hangout—which Norguet describes as a literal and metaphorical return to the chain’s roots. Pieces of birch plywood branch out to create shelving and distinct areas for different social functions and moods. A lone teen can eat standing up, while a family may grab a more private alcove equipped with a digital ordering terminal. "Henceforth," the press release reads, "a mother can settle with her offspring at a table, order from a nearby terminal and wait for the meals to be brought to the table."

Norguet chose a palette of white with bold accent colors, including the McDonald’s signature red and yellow, and used some of his earlier designs, including his Still metal chair for Lapalma and a gray ceramic floor for Lea Ceramica.

The design was given a trial run at an outpost in Villefranche-de-Lauragais, and six other locations are currently in the works. The new look might even give a McDonald’s-rampaging Bové reason to pause. But probably not for long; despite its contemporary sheen, it’s still a fast-food joint, after all.