Serres Séparées is a covid-19-inspired extension of the restaurant of art centre Mediamatic. Greenhouses on the waterfront have been transformed into private dining rooms. The name is inspired by the French chambre séparée; a room in a bar or restaurant that suggests a sexy kind of intimacy. The vegetarian food (‘guaranteed zoonosis-free’) is served on specially designed boards, so that the waiting staff can keep their distance. The contrast between private and public turns the dining experience into a reinterpretation of the sense of security and togetherness. Mediamatic claims a pioneering role with this concept, in part by sharing the project’s knowledge online.
Good timing, fast acting: the ingenuity of Mediamatic shines out with this project. With Serres Séparées they have responded in an accessible way to a complex topicality, with a focus on what is possible, not what isn’t. The transparent cell placed within a public space is a solid concept, with a highly symbolic value for this covid-era. The design itself could have been stronger, but the implementation and knowledge sharing have served as a guide that led to a great deal of international attention and imitation, making it an easily accessible life hack. Mediamatic shows how you can use design to tell a story about isolation versus connection, and does it tongue-in-cheek.