January 20, 2018

Sabrina Goldin, industrial designer

Friday, May 12, 2017

La vie en rose

By Sorrel Moseley-Williams
For The Herald

Age: 30
Lives: Paris
From: La Lucila, Buenos Aires province
Occupation: Industrial designer and co-founder of The Asado Club
Education: Industrial design degree at UBA
Last read: La paradoxe du poisson rouge
Last watched: Hidden Figures
Favoured gadget: My phone

After travelling to Europe as part of an award she won, industrial designer Sabrina Goldin ended up in Paris following a series of coincidences. She’s lived in the City of Lights since 2013 and — in a professional about-turn — is on the verge of opening her second restaurant.

“Three years ago, I won a prize for a sustainable design and was invited to Germany to participate in a congress,” she says. “From there, I went to visit my business partner in Miami, where I met a friend of hers. Stéphane is now my boyfriend and current business partner. I came to Paris with the idea of finalising a leather bags project but Stéphane, who comes from a hospitality background, suggested we put together a food stand; that today is The Asado Club, and we are about to open our first restaurant later this month.

“I’d never been to France before November 2013 and at the start, I couldn’t speak the language — I had gone to an English school in Buenos Aires. I’d had zero contact with the culture, so that first year was great because everything was new but once I had the language, it was very different, more real. I started off giving English-language classes to the head jewellery designer at Dior as well as staff at Louis Vuitton and at state schools.”

Go with the flow

While the industrial designer made the most of her second language in the early days to earn a living, gastronomical ideas with Stéphane started to flow and she put an end to teaching.

She says: “It can be hard to incorporate changes in Paris but the city mayor put out a call for new gastronomic projects. We put together a proposal — and they chose us! We started out with a stand called The Asado Club that was located on a boat, then added Maison Wafflegänger, a 1977 vintage food truck to our portfolio.

“Then, we rented a tiny 20 x 20-metre space next to a canal that became La Empanadería, a physical space for customers to come and buy empanadas, which opened in February 2016; another project of ours, Carbón, is about to come to life. Inspired by Argentina but including other culinary influences, we’ve now hired our team and Carbón will open later this month. It’s amazing that just a few years on we are opening a restaurant!”

Living in an apartment in Le Marais, the industrial designer says this neighbourhood is extremely emblematic in the City of Lights.

“I live in the third arrondissement and it’s two minutes from La République, the centre. It’s incredible living here and it’s the hub for boutiques, very touristy but has lots of tiny streets that are lovely. I live 200 metres from the restaurant, which is great, and I feel like it’s my barrio, a good place to land when starting out in this country. I live in an apartment and know my neighbours, which is unusual — being Europe, people don’t tend to be overly friendly with strangers!”

Water works

Although she doesn’t have much free time, straddling various projects at the same time, Sabrina does have some insider tips for visiting Paris.

“I would recommend that any visitor walks alongside St. Martin Canal that runs through the northwest of the city through the 10th, 11th and 19th and 20th arrondissements. There are restaurants everywhere, filled with local people. Ile St-Louis is also lovely and has a very pretty square.

“I’d also recommend walking along the Seine but on the path that’s almost next to the water. Those are things I like to do that have helped me to fall in love with Paris. You can also see the best sunsets from Pont Neuf, which might sound like a cliché but I love them.”

As for her social circle, the industrial designer has a mixture of French, Argentine and Franco-Argentine friends.

“What I often hear from other Argentines is that they don’t want to socialise with people from our country but for me, it’s the reverse as I speak French all day long so it’s great to return to base. My Argentine friends are close. And, when I arrived, I came via a friend who had already lived here so I met her group really quickly. That made it a lot easier to integrate.”

Sabrina has travelled to various regions around France, and calls the country “beautiful.”

“I really like Lyon as well as Marseilles and Nice, the Côte d’Azur,” she says. “Marseilles is great, there’s a lot to do, and it offers up both landscapes and city. And Lyon has a spectacular food scene. The cost of living in Paris is so high that people naturally move to other cities to develop their projects; that’s what happened with Lyon plus it’s close to the wine regions. There’s lots of young talent there and it was very inspiring.

“I just came back from a weekend in Belgium as Stéphane has family there and we went to an amazing food festival; it was better than in Paris! Paris is very attached to tradition; it’s also a small city and it can be hard to break the mould and do innovative things compared with cities such as Copenhagen.”

Creativity and solutions

Besides her friends and family, Sabrina misses Buenos Aires’ creative spirit.

“In Argentina, you can find solutions to problems. The French are very pessimistic — and more so with the forthcoming election — but in Argentina, all the distinctive stages the country has been through give it a certain experience. With regard to the approach to creativity, there’s more diversity and freedom.

“France is a very capitalist country and the French are scared of embarking upon their own projects and live outside the system. People are always surprised by my past, that I taught English and Spanish, and say ‘Aren’t you afraid of embarking upon all these projects?’ The truth is, they inspire me a lot.”

As for her most French characteristics, one of them is swearing in her third language. Sabrina adds: “But I’m also punctual and very proud of not arriving 45 minutes late like I would be in Argentina. For the moment I’m quite set on that.”



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