The 18th-Century Paris Apartment That Elegantly Blends Past and Future

WHEN OLIVIER MARTY and Karl Fournier of the Paris-based structure agency Studio KO had been requested by an Australian entrepreneur to create a pied-à-terre on town’s Place des Victoires, the pair reveled within the unusual layers of historical past they uncovered. The residence, on the third flooring of one of many sq.’s grand four-story mansions, wanted to be utterly gutted — time had not been type to the partitions or the flooring — however the shopper, who has constructed a retail empire recognized for its daring, bespoke retailer design, didn’t need to merely recreate its unique appeal. Living in Paris had been his dream since he was a younger grownup in Melbourne, so he insisted that the flat mirror his minimalist style in addition to town’s storied environment: In a spot of Rococo building, destruction and architectural resurrection stretching over centuries, there could also be no higher illustration of how venerable websites by no means cease evolving than the Place des Victoires — and how essentially the most elaborate facades typically conceal one thing sudden.

Built within the late 17th century by François d’Aubusson de La Feuillade, a marshal of France beneath Louis XIV, as the primary round public sq. in Paris, the Place des Victoires has been remarkably reworked by the ages. Dividing the First and Second Arrondissements, it was conceived as a homage to the Sun King’s army triumphs; La Feuillade employed the sculptor Martin Desjardins to create a statue of the monarch and enlisted the architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart, who was on the time constructing Versailles’s Grand Trianon, to plan a hoop of just about equivalent adjoined homes to encompass it.

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The statue was completed earlier than a number of the homes had been accomplished, so La Feuillade, desperate to please his patron, had the unfinished buildings coated in monumental canvases with trompe l’oeil work of the facades — a form of ancien régime inexperienced display screen. One morning in 1686, the courtier unveiled, in entrance of the encircling houses (each actual and pretend), the gilded bronze sculpture of the king lording over 4 chained captives who represented the neighboring European nations that he’d defeated. The remaining facades, together with the one fronting the residence that Studio KO redesigned, had been accomplished a number of years later by the architect Jean-Baptiste Prédot. “The story of the Place des Victoires is a good lesson on illusion, on how things are sometimes not what they seem,” Marty says, “which is what we love. You can make it into something more interesting.”

THE ENTREPRENEUR was in search of for his getaway “an architecture of silence” — not the everyday impact sought in an 18th-century Parisian residence. Leaning again on the low-slung couch on a late fall afternoon within the house, which was softly lit by beeswax candles, he defined his need for concord among the many byzantine neighborhood, his personal Greek heritage and the Asian-inspired Modernism that informs his merchandise and private aesthetic.

The 1,600-square-foot dwelling, which has 13-foot ceilings, is sun-splashed throughout the day, with a entrance row of 10-foot home windows overlooking the sq.. The main bedroom within the again, furnished with little greater than a bronze-and-leather mattress by the Milan-based architect Vincenzo De Cotiis, is oddly but appealingly shaped, with angled walls and casement glass that offers views of the Basilica Nôtre-Dame des Victoires across the street. “The light is very graphic, especially in the morning,” says the owner. “I feel very still and very healthy here.” When the weather permits, he flings open every window, letting in the crisp morning air and the sounds of the awakening city.

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