Starting from June 13th, Jaeger-LeCoultre will be delighted to welcome guests to 1931 Café – an elegant and convivial new venue created to coincide with 90 years of the Reverso, a watch that is considered an icon of Art Deco design. Offering guests the chance to immerse themselves fully in the style and ambience of the period when the Reverso was born, the pop-up café will open in Shanghai in June, and this autumn in Paris – the birthplace of the Art Deco movement.
An Homage to Art Deco
Born in the 1920s, Art Deco style was distinguished by a streamlined geometry that rejected traditional ornamentation and perfectly captured the spirit of modernity and progress that defined its time. Created in 1931 and infused with this same spirit, the Reverso was a radical departure from the norms of traditional watch design. Its ingenious functionality and highly distinctive aesthetic epitomised the progressive values that had transformed every area of design, from architecture, automobiles and graphic art, to furniture, films and fashion.
As a quintessential expression of Art Deco style, 1931 Café will evoke the elegant interior of a 1930s ocean liner and the glamour of a film set. Using a black-and-white palette and infused with a warm and flattering light, the design incorporates signature Art Deco materials – chrome, velvet, glass and lacquered wood – and features a marble floor with an inlaid geometric pattern typical of the era. Every detail has been custom-designed, from the frosted-glass chandelier dominating the centre of the room, to the chairs featuring three metal bands that echo the three gadroons on a Reverso case.
A Unique Collaboration with Chef Nina Métayer
Completing the design, a special collection of cakes and pastries has been created by Nina Métayer. Twice named Pastry Chef of the Year, the young Paris-based chef is celebrated for her originality, artistry and exceptional flavours. For 1931 Café, Chef Métayer has designed these sweet treats not only to echo the Art Deco aesthetic of the interior design but also to take guests on a journey to Jaeger-LeCoultre’s home in the Vallée de Joux. By using flavours from the Valley, such as mountain berries, nuts and honey – and, of course, Swiss chocolate – she is inviting guests to experience the world through different flavours, as well as to enjoy pastry that has been elevated to a finely handcrafted art form. Among the pieces created exclusively for 1931 Café are a delightful surprise that alludes to the snowy landscape of the Jura in winter while hiding a burst of summer fruit in its centre, and an elegant, rectangular confection of hazelnuts and chocolate that pays direct tribute to Art Deco style.
“What appealed to me greatly about this collaboration with Jaeger-LeCoultre was the idea of bringing together two very different expressions of craftsmanship in one project,” says Nina Métayer. “The pastry chef and the watchmaker share the same deep values and our gestures are driven by the same desire: not to create for ourselves but to excel for the pleasure of the recipient.”
From Paris to Shanghai – a Story of Style
The two cities chosen as locations for 1931 Café played significant roles in the story of Art Deco. Paris was its birthplace, with prototypical elements of the new style first appearing in the city’s architecture and applied arts in the 1920s. The defining moment came in 1925, when the French capital hosted the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes. This was the catalyst for the global flowering of a style that remained dominant throughout the 1930s – although the term Art Deco, derived from the exhibition’s name, was coined by art historians only in the late 1960s.
In the history of Shanghai, Art Deco also has a unique place. Blending East and West, the distinctive ‘Chinese Art Deco’ style blossomed during the 1930s, as the city became a social, cultural and economic hub of East Asia. This heritage makes it especially fitting to inaugurate the 1931 Café in Shanghai, offering its residents and visitors the opportunity to experience the aesthetic and cultural world that gave birth to the Reverso design.
Opening from 13th June until 15th August, the 1931 Café will be located at K11, the art and fashion hub in the centre of Shanghai. In the autumn, as 1931 Café, it will be recreated in a new location in the heart of Paris.