In October 2003, when Maison Baccarat, the headquarters of the Baccarat French crystal manufacturer, opened its door in Paris, all spruced up in its finery from Philippe Starck, it was hailed as one of the most significant events of the season in the life of the city. The museum and particularly the Crystal Room Baccarat restaurant became the destination of countless design pilgrims. However, while the Paris Maison Baccarat is housed in a well-known building formerly owned by prominent art patrons and collectors, the Moscow branch has taken over a historic pharmacy originally founded in the 18th century by a decree of the Tsar Peter the Great. At the time Nikolskaya Street where the building is located was the intellectual centre of the city and home to numerous schools, bookstores and studios of icon painters. The pharmacy building was completed in 1895 and stood out from the surrounding houses thanks to the tall and pointed chimney adorned by the builders with a huge clock. The Renaissance-style building became a sort of an early tourist landmark, traditionally visited by most guests of the city. The history of the Baccarat company's Russian links is likewise quite an old one and can be traced back to 1860. The Russian Tsar Nicholas II is said to have been one of the most passionate fans of the Baccarat crystal. A special Tsar Candelabrum - 3.25 metre high and featuring 79 candles - was custom-made for his needs by the Baccarat artisans. Some 1000 workers were kept busy by orders from Russia alone in the early 1900s. Salvador Dalí, Ettore Sottsass and many other artists have contributed to the Baccarat collections. Starck is quoted saying that he has always perceived the essence of Baccarat as a world of illusions conjured up from the reflections of light on the facets of cut crystal; the idea inspires thoughts of a crystal palace where anything is possible, the architect explains. Dreams, symbols, reality - everything mixed up in a single dazzling whirl of sparkle. The second floor of the Moscow Maison Baccarat, similarly to the Paris headquarters, houses the Crystal Room Baccarat restaurant run by the new generation of Moscow chefs; the menu features a fusion of French and Russian cuisines. The fare is seasonal; the seafood is shipped in daily from France.
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Keywords: Moscow, restaurants, restaurants, french, russian, fusion, Phillip Stark