Though far smaller in scale, the debut of We Are Ona’s Paris studio, on a crisp evening in spring, felt just as significant. Pronzato arrived at the event, a dinner for 16 friends and collaborators, just hours before his guests, having come straight from Los Angeles where We Are Ona hosted a weeklong pop-up at the headquarters of Perron-Roettinger, a creative agency known for its stage design for Rihanna and Beyoncé and retail work with brands like Cartier. He was preceded by the evening’s guest chefs, Sayaka Sawaguchi and Gil Nogueira, who brought with them from their restaurant in the countryside of Champagne, Le Garde Champêtre, crates of fresh scallops, produce from their garden and cartoonishly large loaves of sourdough bread. After swiftly tying on their chef’s whites, they got to work searing pigeons stuffed with veal pâté, laying them in the hot pan underneath a blanket of fresh rosemary. Meanwhile, Louis-Géraud Castor, the floral artist behind the Parisian studio Castor Fleuriste, set vases of Italian poppies on the table, organizing them in a gradient from red to pale yellow.
As the sun set, friends began to trickle in, accepting glasses of celebratory champagne. The designers Sébastien Meyer, 34, and Arnaud Vaillant, 33, of Coperni, known for their fashion shows that double as performance art, were seated next to the chef Mory Sacko, 30, who recently opened a restaurant with Louis Vuitton in St.-Tropez. Kenny Duncan, 35, a sculptor, found common ground with the chef Zélikha Dinga, 34, whose old-world desserts are presented with an artist’s eye. Celine Pham, 35, the chef at the restaurant Inari in Arles, was happy to occupy a seat at the table, having cooked at several We Are Ona events in the past. Behind her was an oil painting of a young woman in tears, a self-portrait by her dinner partner, the artist Inès Longevial, 32.
“It feels appropriate to share the first of many culinary experiences in our new home with so many past collaborators, surrounded by some of my favorite design creations,” said Pronzato as he pointed out the custom dining table and chairs made by the German design firm E15, with whom he’s worked on past events, and the cabinetry by the Dutch company Reform, another frequent collaborator. For Pronzato, one piece of furniture in the studio holds particularly symbolic significance: a resin-dipped cotton canvas chair that the Italian designer Gaetano Pesce made for Bottega Veneta’s spring 2023 show. “Four hundred people sat on 400 one-of-a-kind chairs,” Pronzato said. “Pesce meant it to be a statement about bringing together a multitude of voices — it’s a sentiment that’s really at the heart of what we do.” Here, he shares his tips for hosting a communal meal to remember.