This small apartment was renovated for a very young couple - both avid art collectors - and their dog. The existing context is that of a 150 year old Haussmaniann apartment with a rigid layout (defined structurally) which we intended to disrupt so that ultimately its inner qualities are revealed. Working on mid-19th century buildings also provides at times fascinating insights on how families (and society at large) were organized and thus interacted. Smaller apartments are not just great challenges for architects but they also a very important fact of life as most city centers become very highly priced, the need for decent and functional layouts is more pressing than ever before. Contrary to instinct, compact spaces should receive more detailing as this modifies our perception of the space by creating more references to relate to. This strategy also provides for very practical solutions as far managing and integrating the necessary components of contemporary life. As in several other project of ours, we introduced programmatic clusters to not just respond to specific client needs but also to create a landscape inside the apartment and modify the perception of this very classical Parisian layout. From the onset a decision was made to restrict as much as possible the use of materials and if possible limit to one primary new material. All millwork is wood fiber panels. We selected fiber panels because they were not only compatible with project budget but also because they allow for a great flexibility of use (field cutting, on site finishes & repairs made easy) and offer a variety of colors and can be easily repaired if scratched because the material is colored throughout. All clusters were designed to minimize material use by making the best use of each full size panel. The kitchen backsplash is marble patchwork of smaller pieces of leftover stone found in a marble quarry in Portugal and all floors are the original herringbone wood flooring. This provided a hint as to which geometry apply to clusters as diagonal floor patterns are a distinguishing feature of Parisian apartments. Clusters cling on to existing structural elements and help conceal storage, divide rooms and create perspective sequencing which in turn provide a greater sense of depth and space. A guest sleeping loft sits atop the bathroom and Elijah the dog enjoys his own sleeping totem right in front of the entrance door.
Our work rests on the mediation between engineering & architectural culture. It is our belief that successful designs can only materialize by fully synthesizing building technology and architectural sensitivity. Our approach to space is determined by a rigorous understanding of existing relationships between technique and culture, free of stylistic limitations, open to context. Our designs cover a wide spectrum or architectural services from interiors to master planning for clients in both the public and private sectors. Operating as one firm our portfolio includes residential, corporate, hospitality, civic, transportation, and mixed-use projects. Our reputation is built on our ability to translate a client’s physical needs, aspiration and budget constraints into memorable designs and spaces. We strive to bring innovation and construction techniques together as well as branding, marketing and post-occupancy issues, as we believe that long lasting experience is measure of excellency.