This project is a renovation of an apartment located in Paris on the second floor of a typical Hausmann-like style building. The site is found at the end of two streets, where they meet the famous and lively 'Place de la République'. The apartment has windows opening on three sides: the two streets and the square. The existing apartment followed a typical plan with a narrow central corridor leading to two rooms on each side with windows opening mainly on the two streets. We changed the room organization and orientation so the main central space faces the square, and one can now feel the sky and trees of the square enter the apartment. The surrounding Paris scenery and plenty of sunlight now comes in from three directions. The aim was also to make it possible for a visitor to sense the scale of the architecture, and even the scale of the urban environment. By carefully opening several walls and reinforcing the ceiling structure in places, we could conceive a new continuous living space extending seamlessly along the three sides: from the master bedroom at one end to a corner extension of the living room that can be turned into a guest bedroom at the other. The design of the solid oak flooring layout directs the space towards the windows, especially those facing the square, emphasizing the new orientation of the apartment. The corridor was made wider, all doors removed, so the client entering the apartment is caught immediately by the appeal of the light coming in from the living room facing him. In the center, the existing chimney was redesigned and turned into a pivot point between the dining/kitchen area and the salon/relaxing area: natural light turns around this pivot point along the day. The bathroom occupies the most inner part of the apartment, in a triangle-shaped plan that absorbs the geometric irregularity of the building and helps keeping the rest of the plan clean and simple. In the heart of the apartment a specially designed oak finish furniture connects the different areas: integrating services as different as wardrobe, kitchen, storage, desk and display shelves, its uniform finish helps the user evolve seamlessly from one area to the next. Along the three sides, a curtain rail runs continuously in front of all windows, acting as an envelope as well as a guideline turning around the apartment. A challenge was to make all technical elements invisible to create a large, clean, serene place to live in, with continuity and fluidity of space. Carefully thought and executed details helped us keeping surfaces free from disruptive objects: innovative recessed door handles, full height frameless bathroom doors in the corridor, extendible tv-bracket to hide the screen completely when not in use, or a wood library with slim sliding steel shelves. A technical ceiling integrating structure reinforcement, acoustic and thermic insulation and heating/cooling circuits allowed us to keep a uniform ceiling surface across all rooms without any obstacle of any kind, and to remove all radiators from the floor and walls. We also reinforced the acoustic performance against the noise from the square with high efficiency windows. Partly a client request, colors were kept two, light oak and white, while a special attention was brought to textures and finishes: the natural oak wood in mat finish extending from the parquet floor to the veneer of the furniture, the smooth mat white of the Fenix compact laminate used in the kitchen, the thick thread weaving of the off-white curtains: all combine to create a soft, peaceful atmosphere. The changing aspect of these materials lit by the moving sunlight emphasizes the passing of time in the apartment throughout the day.
Mio Shibuya, Japanese architect and interior architect, worked in Tokyo and Milan, and now works and lives in Paris (https://www.msarchitecture.fr). Nicolas Profit, French designer in Paris (https://nicolasprofit.com), works with Italian furniture manufacturers, and also works for interior design with Mio Shibuya.