Mama Shelter cuts the mustard in Dijon

Mama Shelter has just launched its latest hotel in the capital city of the historical Burgundy region in eastern France, Dijon. This property is the brand’s 10th hotel in France and the 18th worldwide…

guestroom in Mama Shelter Dijon with walls in shades of terracotta pink and patterned carpets with comic strip lighting

Having been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, Dijon is the International City of Gastronomy and Wine due to its unique culinary traditions and the ‘climates’ of the Burgundy vineyards. From exceptional vintage wines to small dishes, everything is a pretext for rejoicing and sharing. Embracing local traditions in true brand style, Mama Shelter has created its own Dijon mustard in collaboration with Edmond Fallot, a family-run, independent company created in 1840.

a mass of wicker baskets against the black and white patterned ceiling in the restaurant at Mama shelter Dijon

Image credit: Mama Shelter

“For almost 15 years, Mama Shelter has worked to anticipate its enthusiasts’ desires for discovery, encounters and happiness,” commented  Serge Trigano, co-founder of Mama Shelter. “Even more so after a pandemic that has turned the world upside down, shaken up our way of life, thinking and working, Mama has been ahead of society’s evolution, understanding the desire to see elsewhere, by setting up in towns, in regions, renowned for their gentle way of life, their traditions, their better ways of living together. It is therefore only natural that the latest addition to the Mama Shelter family should come to life in Dijon, where we look forward to welcoming you.”

low lighting and comfortable eclectic seating in a mix of patterned fabric in restaurant space of Mama Shelter Dijon

Image credit: Mama Shelter

Mama Shelter, on rue du Maret, next to Saint-Bénigne Cathedral and Jardin Darcy, is located in the former health insurance offices, a brutalist building from the 1960s, listed as a historic French building. “A large, luminous glass box, six minutes’ walk from the station, in the heart of the city,” explained Benjamin El Doghaïli, lead architect of the Mama Shelter design studio, reflecting on his latest playground. “The atmosphere of Dijon is uplifting, inspiring, light and playful.”

“My aim was to capture the Burgundian landscape and invite it into the walls of Mama,” continued  El Doghaïli. “To be inspired by the undulating vineyards, the geometric patterns of the polychrome glazed roof tiles, known as ‘toits vernissés’ or glazed roofs which are the hallmark of this region. Tasting the wine, caressing the bottles to transcribe my emotions born of a terroir shaped by generations of craftsmen, growers, to humbly add my stone, that’s how I thought of this Mama with the help of revered artists and craftsmen.”

pitched roof in shades of terracotta pink with a black and white patterned carpet and a wooden chair in Mama Shelter Dijon guestroom

Image credit: Mama Shelter

The property’s black and white carpeting is designed by Lila Mercier, representing Burgundian vineyards, while the patterns and colours on the caning on the headboards represent the glazed roofs found in buildings around Dijon.

“This Mama is a spoiled child, playful, adorned with warm colours, terra cotta, powder pink and green. Each of its rooms and suites is distinguished, for the first time at Mama, by separate toilets, Tom Dixon basins, large showers and in some cases, baths. Further details that affirm its personality include a charming bench, a desk with a chessboard-shaped top that can be removed to play… even in bed. But above all, they are flooded with natural light, generous, magical, which ennobles every corner, gives relief and depth, even to the concrete.”

striped vertical tiling on the bathroom wall with arched mirror above Tom Dixon basin

Image credit: Mama Shelter

“We juggled again, on the one hand to avoid wandering around in a space that was too vast, we made the ceiling as dark as possible and put lights at eye level,” explained  El Doghaïli. “Authentic grape harvest baskets were turned into light fittings and a monumental chandelier was hung with 136 pieces of enamelled ceramic reminiscent of traditional roofs, a unique object made by the Faïencerie de Charolles, a local company. In the lower part of the ceiling, a romantic score is played, with alcoves lined with Juliette Seban’s toile de Jouy, inspired by the paintings of Jérôme Bosch, gargantuan allegories.”

patterned ceiling and clashing patterns on the carpets frame the lobby of Mama Shelter Dijon

Image credit: Mama Shelter

Playing with the existing structure and honouring its history, while respecting the rules of the French building code, was quite the exercise. “When you find yourself with a forest of concrete posts supporting the impressive structure, you rack your brains.”

Like an alchemist transforming lead into gold, the architect has transformed each pillar in the lobby and restaurant into works of art, decorated with frescoes by Beniloys and golden ceramics by Arnold du Bazar d’Alger, a graphic artist, all of which compliment the cut-out silkscreens by Atelier Bingo. In the restaurant, attention is also drawn to the floor by two symmetrical carpets by Laureline Galliot where jacks clash, a reference to the archaeological digs that took place during the construction.

Main image credit: Mama Shelter