Known as the fashion capital of the world, with a clothing industry that goes back to the 13th century, Paris is full of smaller and larger sewing workshops. One of these, has been recently transformed into a loft-like, modern apartment by Isabelle Heilmann of interior design studio Epicène. Faced with a cramped configuration and decrepit building services, Heilman completely overhauled the space using glass partitions, internal windows and raised platforms to create interlinked living and working areas to establish a sense of spaciousness and enhance natural light. Embracing a modernist ethos of clean, functional elegance based on a monochromatic white palette and a cubic design language, the renovation champions contemporary urban living without losing the property’s charm or atypical character.
Most of the property’s floorspace has been dedicated to a living room and a kitchen/dining room. Separated by a steel-framed glass partition, one of the few elements of the former sewing workshop that have been preserved, the two rooms can be perceived as one, injecting a sense of spaciousness into the otherwise compact apartment.
Once used for storing fabric rolls, the small mezzanine level by the entrance has been preserved, now functioning as a guest bedroom, while a new raised platform was purposefully integrated into the kitchen/dining room to accommodate an office area. Comprising two workstations, a library and storage space, the office receives plenty of natural light as does the master bedroom off the living room thanks again to a large internal window.
Designed in an atypical L-shape, the bedroom window is part of a geometric design language of rectilinear forms and cubic volumes that extend from the built-in features like the bedroom’s headboard and living room’s console/bench, to the design of the raised office platform and the associated niches and storage compartments, through to the bathroom tiling. In combination with the all-white colour scheme, Heilman’s embrace of cubic forms imbues the apartment with a modernist sensibility.
The monochromatic white colour scheme is softened by birch plywood, used for the kitchen cabinets and the dressing room wardrobes, green and yellow-painted doors, and other colourful touches like carpets and posters. An eclectic collection of vintage furnishings including a salvaged farm table, an industrial pendant lamp, Achille Castiglioni’s Snoopy lamp along with a wooden swing playfully hanging from the living room ceiling, further add to the apartment’s idiosyncratic character.