Christian de Portzamparc

  • BETWIXT AND BETWEEN

    Café Beaubourg’s indisputable victory over Café Costes—once the ne plus ultra of the ultra-now, today a Naf Naf boutique—constitutes a Parisian cautionary tale of contemporary architecture. A decade ago, in the environs of the Centre Pompidou, Philippe Starck’s Café Costes is what you “discussed”; Christian de Portzamparc’s Café Beaubourg was where you went. The consensus then, as now, favors such outmoded values as comfort, calm, and civility. Countering Starck’s insolent playfulness, Portzamparc had cannily displaced a tried-and-true model: salon-style seating in two column-protected aisles