House tour: Artistic details enrich this 19th-century Paris apartment

Interior designer Gerard Faivre describes this Parisian apartment one of his works of art. The apartment, in the 8th arrondissement of Paris, dates back to 1880, it has a view of the Arc de Triomphe and is a large, bright space. But above all, it is Faivre’s art and design decisions inside this stunning apartment that really set it apart and take it beyond the refinement of its surroundings.

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hallCorridor leading the bedrooms featuring wall light by Hollander.

For this project, Gerard collaborated closely with a number of artists, filing the apartment with carefully selected works to off-set the décor. Paintings, photographs and sculptures were painstakingly chosen to harmonise and enhance the rooms, and produce a creative, inspiring space for living.

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living-room
living-2Living room featuring bespoke chandelier by Christine Rouvière for the Cinabre Gallery Paris; sofas by Hannes Wettstein from Molteni with Paros fabric by Hamilton Conté; coffee tables by Massimo Castagna for Gallotti&Radice; wallpaper by Arte; armchairs by Hamilton Conté.

Throughout the apartment, the contemporary artworks and design pieces blend smoothly with the original period features of the house. Gerard maintained the original parquet flooring, the mouldings, the ceiling heights and the period fireplaces, and chose pieces that neither detracted from them nor conflicted.

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living-roomLiving room featuring marble fireplace; ceiling painted in the pattern of a metallic grey cloudy sky; pendant lights and wall sconces by Tom Dixon; Sofas by Don Ignacia sofas; Helix rug by Gianfranco Férré.

For this apartment, two themes led the design. Firstly, Faivre revisited the mashrabiya, a nod to his recent trip to Marrakech. The mashrabiya - an Arabic term given to an oriel window of carved wood latticework, often lined with stained glass - creates an intimate atmosphere through "the discretion of seeing without being seen". This is most evident in the Etch suspension lights by Tom Dixon chosen for the hall, where the meshwork filters the light in an exceptional, almost magical way, and decorates the interiors with poetic shadows. Similarly, the sliding doors between the dining room and kitchen of decorative glass and textile elements create a luminous transparency, and the wall dividing these rooms also diffuses transparency and light.

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diningDining room featuring pendant lights by Tom Dixon; rug by Gianfranco Férré for Sahrai; glass-top table Arc with concrete table legs by Foster & Partners for Molteni; chairs by Gallotti & Radice, reupholstered by Gérard Faivre with fabric by Dédar.

kitchen
The second theme was provided by the "Melt" suspension lights (also Tom Dixon) in the main lounge. They seem to re-create the incessant movement of the planets, and their effect varies depending on the light. When switched off, they are mirror-like and when switched on, they become transparent. This led to the idea of creating some mirrored walls to play on the visual magnitude of infinity, and to add another dimension to the space. By projecting the reflection of the room, the beauty of each unique detail is accentuated.

bedroom /Master bedroom featuring bed by Rodolfo Dordoni for Molteni; vintage lamps in paper and glass Esperia 1960 Edition by Cabanon Design Galerie.

bathroom
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bedroom-4Master bedroom featuring armchair D.154.2 by Gio Ponti for Molteni & C; rug made to measure by Ege and side table by Nicola Gallizia.

These two themes centre around the distinctive play of light in the rooms, and a blend of classicism and modernity, and they sum up the feel within the apartment. The focus is on harmony, mystery, movement and calm. The palettes are soft, yet iridescent and striking. The details are unique and eye-catching, yet the overall look is one of elegance.

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Annabel Sheen

View all posts by Annabel Sheen