Get ready to be swept off your feet and transported to the heart of Paris with this stunning Art Nouveau apartment renovation. With a mix of vibes from the 1920s and the 1970s, the apartment balances modern comfort with timeless elegance. From the original stained-glass windows to the striking marble marvel of a bathroom, this apartment is a one-of-a-kind oeuvre.
- Project: Lunain
- Location: Paris
- Completion: 2021
- Gross area: 110 m2
- Main architect: Louis Denavaut
A STROLL IN PARIS is truly comparable to a tour of an art museum. From the ornate iron balcony railings of the grand Haussmannian buildings to the stunning Art Deco attractions, each building is a thoughtful and elegant work of art that tells a fascinating story of the city's history and culture.
Architect Louis Denavaut was tasked with renovating an apartment in a unique Art Nouveau building in the 14th arrondissement of Paris, whose sumptuous spirit had been buried under a potent 1970s design language. By layering nuances from the 20s and 70s and renovating and respecting the original structures, Denavaut peeled out the apartment's original elegance, skillfully updated to the present day.
Inspired by the site itself
Apart from the stained-glass windows that made an instant impression on the architect, Denavaut drew inspiration from the bold contrast of 70s design language and the poetic spirit of the Parisian building from the 19th century to create a unique personality for the space.
“The ambiance of the room is created purely by the interplay of light, choice of materials, and furniture that fits perfectly into the frame of the space.”
While the curved doorways and walls lend character to the space, they needed a companion that exudes clarity and serenity – as well as innovative furniture solutions. One of the most striking pieces of furniture in the apartment is Denavaut's custom-designed sofa for the living room's curved recess, which elegantly accentuates the smooth lines and makes best possible use of the somewhat tricky space.
Denavaut's mesmerizing ability to utilize the distinctive characteristics and idiosyncrasies of a space to create unforgettable designs is palpable in this project too. From the marble slabs replacing the missing thresholds to the handmade lamps mimicking the shape of the living room, and the color palette picked up from the stained glass, every element adds a touch of playful lightness to the impressive whole.
Denavaut has a mesmerizing ability to utilize the distinctive characteristics and idiosyncrasies of a space to craft unforgettable designs.
One surprise still manages to steal the show. The marble marvel hidden behind the massive headboard in the bedroom – a stunning bathroom ensconced into a cube-shaped marble block – is an artistic wonder unlike no other. The bathroom, built practically smack dab in the middle of the bedroom, is almost entirely crafted of an expressive, strongly patterned Tiger Skin marble that provides a powerful and stimulating contrast to the apartment's delicate color scheme.
“The biggest challenge was the marble bathroom, a perfect cube behind the bed. It looks simple, but assembling the large partition walls in the middle of the bedroom without breaking anything was a true technical feat,” Denavaut revealed to Design Stories.
Nurturing natural materials
Marble and stained oak pull a red thread through the apartment and introduce an attractive old-time elegance to the space – executed in a reinvigoratingly modern way. The beautifully patinated natural materials make the apartment not only truly timeless and graceful, but also practical, as they are durable and easily replaceable and recyclable.
“I always prefer to use natural materials such as stone and wood in my projects, because they are both recyclable and reusable. Additionally, they carry a sensitivity that never fades.”
The color scheme of the apartment also echoes the subtle connection to a more natural approach: earthy shades of brown, fresh white and greenish gray of the ceiling – picked up from the stained glass windows – and the darker emerald green color of the hall wrap the space in soft, harmonious hues.
The abundant natural light flooding into the apartment, filtered into a soft pastel-colored glow by the stained-glass windows underlines the apartment's peaceful and poetic atmosphere, a feast for the senses.
- Louis Denavaut is a French interior architect and designer.
- Denavaut trained as an interior architect at the renowned École Camondo university in Paris.
- Denavaut has designed, among other things, luxury retail stores and furniture in addition to private apartments. He has also worked as a consultant for Louis Vuitton.
- Louis Denavaut founded his own studio in 2018.
- Denavaut names iconic Finnish designer Alvar Aalto as one of his most significant sources of inspiration.
Get inspired by Lunain
Text: Mira Ahola Images: Christophe Coënon