Shaker-Style Design in a Bakery-Cafe in France

Suleïma Ben Achour and Antoine Lallement of Studio Classico run a two-person, two-city architecture firm: she’s in Paris, he’s in Marseille. They began collaborating as students at École Nationale d’Architecture de Paris la Villette, and, since opening their office in 2020, have been producing thoughtful, spirited work: see, for instance, Order and Pattern in a Spirited Apartment Remodel and A Room of One’s Own: An Ensuite Retreat. Those two projects are in Paris; today, we’re following the duo to Marseille, where they were asked to give a frilly cupcake café a new look for its tenth anniversary.

The owner of Minoofi Bakery spent time living in the States and describes her establishment as “homemade American with a French twist.” Suleïma and Antoine’s mandate was to telegraph Minoofi’s bilingual focus while making the setting feel “more grown up”—and working within the existing very tight layout.

In response, the architects zeroed in on three of the bakery’s guiding principles: “timeless, warm, and homemade.”  As research, they “looked at who in America used to make beautiful things in natural materials,” which is how the work of the Shakers became their point of reference. “We appreciate the Shaker combination of harmony and modernity, and the use of wood,” says Antoine. We also like the functional aspect—this is a bakery that’s a workspace.” And like the bagels, pecan pie, and red velvet cake on offer, the new fittings are lovely translations, all designed by Suleïma and Antoine and executed by friends of theirs. We plan to study the details and interpret them for our own rooms.

Photography by Marvin Leuvrey, courtesy of Studio Classico (@studio_classico).

the counter is newly tiled with zellige and topped with a display case framed i 9
Above: The counter is newly tiled with zellige and topped with a display case framed in iroko wood. Shaker-inspired elements include the wrap-around peg rail and hanging shelves.
all of the wooden designs were fabricated by a team of cabinetmakers and carpen 10
Above: All of the wooden designs were fabricated by a team of cabinetmakers and carpenters from Marseille led by Mathilde Bouchillou with Lea Laborie, Perrine Besson , and Kamil R.Marseilles. The walls are painted in Farrow’s Cream and the baseboards and other details in Tallow, both from Farrow & Ball.

The push broom is from Marseille institution Maison Emperereur, France’s Oldest and Most Esteemed Hardware Store. An important small detail: the wooden vent in the counter was sourced from David Kotora.

wanting to
Above: Wanting to “inhabit” the big wall behind the counter, Suleïma and Antoine worked with graphic designer Victor Tual to create a hanging menu that they see as also working “like the pattern of an abstract painting.” Victor had the letters and numbers laser cut on little wooden panels, and Suleïma and Antoine themselves hammered the 1,200 nails, because nobody else was up for the task—”it was a long and painful experience but we think did not so badly.”

Adds Antoine: “For us the nail is a kind of metaphor of arts and crafts culture, and also links to the pastries which are handmade.”

several woods were selected to establish
Above: Several woods were selected to establish “a palette of textures and colors.” The peg rail is iroko, and the hanging shelves, suspended by leather cords, are chestnut, ash, and elm. The vintage wares on display were collected in Marseille.
the menu can be updated as needed. the long iroko work counter ends in a sink. 13
Above: The menu can be updated as needed. The long iroko work counter ends in a sink.
an existing metal spiral stair leads to the mezzanine.
Above: An existing metal spiral stair leads to the mezzanine. “The shelf skirt was an economic solution to hide the storage,” says Antoine; it’s made from second-hand fabric by textile designer Remi Marilleau.
the iroko tables are the architects
Above: The iroko tables are the architects’ interpretation of “the classic café table with Shaker inspiration.” They were built by Perrine Besson in collaboration with Mathilde Bouchillou. The Lare Recycled Wood Stools, €44.95, are from Sklum.
remi marilleau also made the bench cushion and pillows from cotton linen leftov 16
Above: Remi Marilleau also made the bench cushion and pillows from cotton-linen leftovers: “we asked for a classic checkerboard and he used the dimensions of fabric he had, which is why from pillow to pillow the squares are different sizes,” says Suleïma.
Above: “We wanted to give presence and materiality to the bakery from the street, and also to protect the pastries from the sun” explains Antoine of the hanging banners embroidered by Remi. They were inspired by the kakemonos  Suleïma remembers seeing years ago in Japan, and are designed to be hung outdoors or in.
minoofi bakery is at 104 rue paradis in marseille across from popular concept 18
Above: Minoofi Bakery is at 104 Rue Paradis in Marseille across from popular concept store Jogging Jogging.

More Shaker design:

And here’s a recent Paris apartment with a Shaker-inspired home office: