Joseph Dirand has made a name for himself with Parisian institutions like Monsieur Bleu and the Chloé flagship store, having worked in destinations as far flung as Beijing, New York and Mexico. Whether working east or west on the globe, his instantly recognizable, clean minimalist style is always perfectly balanced between hot and cold –having said that, his interiors are anything but lukewarm.
We take a peek into a pied-à-terre designed by Dirand in the up market Saint-Germain-des-Près Paris neighbourhood, the quartier of choice for philosophers and artists, and the place to go for high-end boutiques, restaurants and an espresso that’s always unfailingly more expensive than the standard price. The 350m² apartment itself is located on the first floor of an hôtel particulier (a grand French townhouse, usually a wealthy family’s abode) and if its interiors don’t wow our readers, the 250m² terrace surely will (although we’re pretty confident that the whole package will cause uncontrollable home envy). In densely populated Paris, this townhouse is a rare find indeed.
The architect restored the apartment to its Belle Epoque glory with panelling, ornate mouldings, lots of marble - and more designer fittings than we have fingers to count them on - all in a fresh palette of black, white, grey and gold. Reflecting on this, in an interview with the AD France, Dirand claimed that ''I didn’t want to produce any style effects, but rather I wanted to give back what the space had lost since its heyday.'' One of the features in the apartment left to survive is the 80s two-pattern parquet floors, popularised at the time. Floor-to-ceiling French doors in every room let in plenty of light; light being something the architect sought to maximize as it travels along the white walls throughout the day from the bedroom in the morning to the living room in the late afternoon. Because for Dirand, as he told Design4Dreaming, ''What really matters to me, a lot more than the interior, is light. Light is what makes architecture alive. Wherever I go, especially my studio, my apartment, the places I used to live, I have to see the sky!.''
Kitted out with well-placed fittings (again to emphasise light), all from the Parisian design hub, Galerie Kreo, there’s a Gino Sarfatti chandelier, a desk lamp by Bruno Gatta, and an oversized ‘Bells’ by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec in the living room. Eric Scmitt’s bronze Fingi suspension lighting in the kitchen is also worth noting for its slender Brooklyn-glam chic.
As mentioned before, the walls are white with a restricted four colour scheme. Despite this fact, the space is warm and cosy. Through the French windows one can see the greenery growing on the terrace, which adds variety to the colours inside. Lighting aside, the owners are art lovers and their home is packed with works by artists like David Noonan, Jonathan Binet, and Ugo Rondinone. That said, the pièce de resistance is the magnificent Oscar Niemeyer seat situated in the bathroom against a romantic backdrop of plants outside on the terrace.
A house full of Parisian old-world character with its high ceilings, white walls and enormous windows. Its fluid sweeping lines are full of movement, feeling, warmth and the carefully controlled design results in giving each piece of furniture, fixture and artwork, the appropriate space to shine alone and as part of a whole.