Scientifically chic would be a great way to describe one of the newest additions to Kendall Square, Cafe ArtScience. The cafe, bar, and restaurant, which is a partnership between the France-based Le Laboratoire (which has also expanded to Cambridge, next to the restaurant), opened last month.
The entryway is masked by a large velvet curtain, protecting the interior from the harsh weather. The first thing that draws the eye is a sleek white bar, greeting guests as they enter. The bar area is beautifully illuminated and a has a giant space with plenty of room for bartenders to craft the perfect cocktail. There seems to be every tool imaginable behind the bar (and then some), and tall white leather seats allow guests a front-row view of the action. Hanging above the bar, there's a massive honeycomb-shaped mirror in a bright kelly green, a stark contrast to the gleaming white.
Past the bar and into the dining room, marble tables and white chairs allow plenty of seating, and a giant olive green velvet couch snakes its way through the center of the room. To the back wall, a giant honeycomb-patterned circular room is available for private parties. It's covered with signatures of guests.
Just off to the right of that, an inscription is carved into the wall declaring the partnership between the culinary arts, science, and design — and that this is where they "meet the sustainable future of food." The names of those who are involved in this endeavor are also listed.
There's a certain airiness and openness to the whole space, but there are many nooks and more secluded places as well. On the far side of the dining room, a little space is carved out and a little more hidden from the rest of the dining room, but it is almost entirely surrounded by the glass walls that run from floor to ceiling and all along the length of the front of the building. Because of all of the windows, so much light seeps in, even on the most gray of days. White lights are honeycomb-shaped, the recurring pattern throughout, and hang from the center of the dining room, providing even more light.
Back at the entrance of the restaurant and reaching around to the bar area, an exhibit gives this section of the space a museum feel with the advances that the team has made in the sustainable future of food. Items like edible packaging and air food that have been created are on display and allow guests to learn about these advancements and to see the work behind it all.
The nearly-13,000-square-foot space (including the adjacent gallery, lecture hall, and more) was designed by Mathieu Lehanneur in conjunction with Brown Fenollosa Architects and contractors from C.E. Floyd Company.