Rudy Guénaire is the co-founder of PNY restaurants. After having called upon architects to design his 8 Parisian sites, the group’s artistic director wanted to go further, by launching himself into the design of his restaurants.
The PNY (Paris-New York, ed. note) adventure began in 2012. Rudy Guénaire and Graffi Rathamohan, both graduates of HEC, decided to create their own burger restaurant concept. To conceive them, they first call upon the agency CUT architecture, which will create 5 restaurants (PNY Faubourg Saint-Denis, PNY Pigalle, PNY Carreau du Temple, PNY Oberkampf and PNY Citadium). They are then relayed by the architect Bernard Dubois who imagines 3 new addresses, always in Paris (PNY Marais, PNY Faubourg Saint-Antoine, PNY Gaîté).
PNY Grenoble © Ludovic Balay
PNY Strasbourg © Ludovic Balay
In 2020, after 8 years of observing and closely following the sites, Rudy Guénaire felt the need to get even more involved: “I was starting to have a real vision of what I wanted for the restaurants. I couldn’t find anyone who matched what I had in mind so I figured it was time to get involved.” At the time in the midst of a move, he decided to manage the renovation of his apartment from start to finish, as a test run, before tackling the new PNYs.
A studio and a first restaurant in Lyon in 2021
In 2021, he creates his studio in Paris, and surrounds himself with 4 architects to assist him on all projects. He then launched the work on the PNY Lyon, which opened in February 2022. Located in a neighborhood known for its famous local bouchons, he explains that he wanted to make this former printing house a reinterpretation of an American-style diner, but “without falling into cliché“, all punctuated with subtle references to the film Grease and Madonna’s Hollywood video. Passionate about cinema and pop culture, Rudy Guénaire does not hesitate to refer to it in his creations: “I make sure that everything comes from me. I don’t want to take too much inspiration from others, in order to produce something that comes from me as much as possible and that has a real personality. It’s a bit of a synthesis of everything I see.
PNY Lyon © Ludovic Balay
PNY Strasbourg, PNY Grenoble and PNY Bordeaux have also opened. Two new locations in Lille and Nantes are currently under construction, while three others are in the design phase.
PNY Bordeaux © Ludovic Balay
Draw as much as possible
In the design of the restaurants, the design of the furniture pieces has taken on a special place in his work. More specifically, the artistic director confides that he has developed an attraction for chairs. Since PNY Lyon, he designs them all, but not only. “I want to go very far in the requirement of the drawing. I draw everything I can: chairs, lamps, towel racks and even coat racks.” A requirement that ensures a quality rendering, without blowing budgets: “We’re still burger restaurants. So even if we have the means, we know we’re not going to put marble in it. What really counts is the design, which is what makes the rendering beautiful.“
Chair at the PNY Bordeaux © Ludovic Balay
Chair of the PNY Strasbourg © Ludovic Balay
“What we want is to tell a story around the burger, which is different every time, and to take customers into a universe.” Indeed, the artistic director takes pleasure in slipping in cultural and historical references, like the PNY Strasbourg, arranged like a train, to recall the Orient Express, whose initial route made a stop in the Alsatian city. In Grenoble, we leave the train to arrive in a plane, while in Bordeaux, we almost feel dizzy because of the architecture with its leaning curves that disrupts our gravity. All that remains is to discover what the next addresses have in store…