"Our goal is to transport the diner to the time and place we are trying to create. A gracious and exceptional experience of dining in French colonial Indochina." Outdoor lighting comes from Bevolo Lighting in New Orleans, which was settled and—like Vietnam— controlled by France during the colonial period. Inside, fringed lamps from France juxtapose with bird cage pendants from Asia. Parisian cafe chairs were specifi cally chosen to blend French style with the tropical ambience. “They’re from France; they’re the real deal,” Knauer says. “The source is a guarded secret, and they do not typically sell in the U.S.” The colorful tile contrasts starkly with both the white tablecloths and the gray-colored buildings of the River Oaks District shopping area, which surrounds the restaurant. “The tile is a true period encaustic tile pattern manufactured by Carocim in France that we recolored.” 1 DESIGN PHOTO BY JULIE SOEFER MOMENT Dining at Le Colonial is time travel. Not only does the food take you far away, but the ambience sends you straight back to French colonial Vietnam. Designer Mark Knauer shares how he made it happen.