If people are searching for the meaning of life and to make sense of things, our concept is little known! What if meaning was right in front of our very own eyes but we couldn’t see it? What if you lost sight temporarily, and a door was opened to an amazing world in which our senses of hearing, touch, taste, and smell were suddenly awakened, helping us to realize that we might all be “handicapped” of some of our senses.
Dinners in the dark are an old idea used by associations for people with blindness since the middle of the 19th century, to help their families and friends gain awareness about visual impairments. These are the questions (the question mark in our logo) that designers and researchers like Professor Andreas Heinecke in Germany have sought to answer for more than a dozen years with sensory event experiments and artistic performances in the darkness. We also note the works of Michel Reilhac in France, and the work done in France since 1997 by the Paul Guinot Association for people with visual impairments. Until 2003 this association has organized dinners in the dark throughout France within the program “Le Goût du Noir” and created the first temporary restaurant “Dans le Noir?” in 1999 in the Montorgueil quarter of Paris.
Dans le Noir? (developed by Ethik Investment Group) was founded and financed in Paris in 2004 by Edouard de Broglie, a specialist in innovation and corporate social responsibility with the help of his friends, Etienne Boisrond, ex-President of Young & Rubicam in Europe, as well as help from the Paul Guinot Association for the Visually Impaired to develop this experience in France, Europe and the world.
After Paris in 2004, Dans le Noir? became the first private, non-subsidized “in the dark” restaurant chain in the whole world by opening two establishments in 2006 in London in February, and in Moscow in November, and in Barcelona in 2009. Temporary restaurants have also been developed in Lille (France), Varsovie (Poland), Geneva (Switzerland), and Bangkok (Thailand). New establishments opened in 2011 in Saint Petersburg, Russia and in New York. The concept has also been copied in the USA, Canada and China. We are contemplating new projects in the Middle East and New Zealand.
In 2005, the group also created an event planning subsidiary (Ethik Event) which operates in France and in the UK with large corporations and institutions. Ethik Event is chaired by Didier Roche, an entrepreneur with a vision impairment and Fabrice Roszczka, former leaders of the “Le Gout du Noir” project within the Paul Guinot Association.
Most recently, Ethik Event has also developed event planning of innovative concepts dealing with deafness, such as Café Silence.
In March 2011, Dans le Noir? rolled out its concept to the world of body care by creating the first “Dans le Noir? le Spa” in Paris, where the massage professionals are vision impaired and certified in esthetics.
In late 2015, Edouard de Broglie and Fabrice Roszczka launched the Otra Vista Social Club parties with the Dans le Noir ? Barcelona team. Dans le Noir ? Otra Vista Social Club offers an insight into life without sight or sound, using noise-cancelling headphones playing different music tracks, with guides on-hand throughout the night to help guests communicate using sign language, and a chill-out in the pitch dark to socialize free from preconceptions.
Finally in 2016, Edouard de Broglie created the first « Dans le Noir ? La Boutique Sensorielle » shop, in addition with the « Dans le Noir ? Blind Tasting Awards ». In the process the experts guides with vision impairments became the ambassadors of quality products all over Europe.
After more than a million guests throughout the various experiences initiated by the Group and for its customers, Dans le Noir? has no doubt become one of the disability’s largest positive awareness operations in Europe and the world, and has remained a profitable, private company since 2005.