Le DUC des LOMBARDS jazz club and restaurant, Paris FRANCE

Elliott Barnes has just completed the redesign of the internationally acclaimed jazz club


The club’s design stems from a commitment to provide the best playing environment for the musicians and the best listening environment for the audience. Emphasis is placed upon creating a situation for high quality sound, soft evocative lighting and comfortable seating.

The entrance to the club and restaurant is through a Makassar ebony box lit from above by a James Turell inspired blue colored oval. The focal point of the entry is a continuous video of seductive cigarette/cigar smoke in a work commissioned by the designer from a young French video artist. The hostess desk in beige leather is a contemporary take on big band musicians stands.

The overall color scheme is based upon a little known jazz suite by Duke Ellington entitled Black, Brown & Beige. This is exemplified in the use of Makassar ebony veneers, chocolate asphalt floors, and beige leather covered bar. The walls are covered in the sound absorbing material Herakilth painted in a dark khaki color. The exterior glazed walls are covered in the evening by a quilted blue satin sound curtain whose grid is based upon piano mover padded covers.

Alvar Aalto designed the brass suspended lighting fixtures in 1932.  They float above tables and evoque the bells of trumpets. The tables are in walnut with an inlaid black mother of pearl strip inspired by the inlays in trumpet pistons. The arm chairs named “Glynell” were specially designed by the Elliott Barnes for the club.

The design of the stage allows the musicians to play in the round. The audience thus encircles the stage which provides for a warmer and stronger connection between artist and listener.

In this project, the designer has positioned himself as a double bassist in a jazz ensemble. Providing the orientation and tempo he also allows space for other soloists.

The stage curtain was created by the young up and coming American artist Edgar Arceneaux. Elliott and Edgar, both from Los Angeles, met for the first time in Paris in September 2007. The artist was offered a “carte blanche” opportunity to create a unique piece that would not just be a backdrop for the stage but would rather operate as another instrument, albeit visual, during the performances.  The response was: Duke Ellington 3 Part Suite –A reflection on “Take the A Train, Transbluescency and Mood Indigo.

A monumental stair leads one to the mezzanine level. The stairs were dimensioned, and the hand railing designed so that spectators could also use the stairs as occasional seating. To the right of the stair is the acoustically designed “key” wall incorporating vertical placed LED light slits which give a subtle rhythmic glow. At the mezzanine there is a play between large screen video monitors which heighten the viewing pleasure and more classic art works commissioned by the designer.

The result is a multilayered design assemblage where different artists and artistic expressions connect and disconnect.


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