PA­RIS MAT­CH

Marie Claire Maison (Italy) - - ENGLISH TEXT -

In his pied-à-ter­re, Ch­ri­sto­pher No­to ce­le­bra­tes the streng­th of pai­rings, from vintage and clas­sic Fren­ch to Ea­st and We­st

By Chia­ra Cor­ri­do­ri - Pho­tos Reto Guntli

A re­fi­ned co­smo­po­li­tan spi­rit. The work of Ch­ri­sto­pher No­to, the fa­mous Ame­ri­can designer who shares his ti­me bet­ween New York, his ba­se, Sin­ga­po­re − whe­re he foun­ded his sto­re Pa­go­da Hou­se − and Pa­ris, the ci­ty whi­ch has held his heart sin­ce he was a boy. Worlds that are po­lar op­po­si­tes, and yet syn­the­si­sed in eve­ry pro­ject: from the pri­va­te lo­ca­tions scat­te­red across the pla­net (un­der con­struc­tion are a re­si­den­ce in Hong Kong and a ca­stle in Nor­man­dy), to the Elan Ate­lier fur­ni­tu­re li­ne in the Uni­ted Sta­tes. A sub­tle wea­ving plot of cul­tu­res and hi­sto­ri­cal pe­riods, of Ea­st and We­st reu­ni­ted in a di­stil­la­te of ele­gan­ce. This is the leit­mo­tif of this pied-à-ter­re in Saint-Ger­main-des-Prés, No­to’s cho­sen re­treat du­ring his stays in the Fren­ch ca­pi­tal. On the pi

ano no­bi­le (the se­cond) of a buil­ding whi­ch da­tes back to 1830, bet­ween the 6th ar­ron­dis­se­ment and the ex­tre­me ea­stern end of the 7th, stra­te­gi­cal­ly pla­ced amid­st tree-li­ned ave­nues, gal­le­ries and ca­fés. Re­la­ti­ve­ly mo­de­st in si­ze (120 squa­re me­ters), the ho­me ex­pres­ses an ae­sthe­tic exempt from ru­les: “I do not al­low my­self to be con­di­tio­ned by any­thing, let alo­ne by fa­shions. I lo­ve ha­ving the free­dom to crea­te the ideal back­ground to gi­ve voi­ce to dreams, whi­le at the sa­me ti­me sho­wing the fa­sci­na­ting stra­ti­fi­ca­tions of dif­fe­rent eras”, he ex­plains. The re­sult? A uni­que, hi­ghly per­so­nal who­le, fil­led wi­th memories, emo­tions and be­lo­ved ob­jec­ts. To fra­me them, Ch­ri­sto­pher pre­ser­ved the ori­gi­nal ele­men­ts as mu­ch as pos­si­ble. In par­ti­cu­lar, in the li­ving room, the pa­st is ve­ry mu­ch pre­sent in the hi­gh cei­lings and oak par­quet, di­sas­sem­bled, re­sto­red and re­layed. Ma­ny of the fix­tu­res are en­chan­tin­gly em­bel­li­shed, su­ch as the hand­les car­ved wi­th mi­nu­te mo­tifs, so that they re­sem­ble mi­nia­tu­re sculp­tu­res, whi­le the black and whi­te mar­ble in the en­tran­ce hall and gue­st room co­mes from an old Fren­ch esta­te. For the re­st, ea­ch de­tail is the re­sult of a con­tem­po­ra­ry re­sty­ling, wi­th re­spect for the con­text. Seen, for exam­ple, in the pro­fi­les and moul­dings ad­ded from scrat­ch to the sit­ting room: they gi­ve a clas­si­cal au­ra, but the de­si­gn speaks a cur­rent lan­gua­ge. A clu­ster of mir­rors co­vers one of the walls of the li­ving room. “I ado­re them: they bring cha­rac­ter and play wi­th the dif­fe­rent sour­ces of light in a ca­sca­de of re­flec­tions, trans­por­ting your mind to the Pa­la­ce of Ver­sail­les”. The de­co­ra­tion em­pha­si­ses No­to’s ta­lent in brin­ging to­ge­ther re­mo­te eras and moods. Pa­ri­sian an­ti­ques, main­ly from the 18th and 19th cen­tu­ries, dia­lo­gue wi­th Chi­ne­se sta­tues and pa­nels of the Ming dy­na­sty. Span­ning al­mo­st three hun­dred years − from 1368 to 1644, a suc­ces­sion of six­teen em­pe­rors, ex­traor­di­na­ry pro­mo­ters of ar­ti­stic di­sci­pli­nes − and No­to’s fa­vou­ri­te era for the pu­ri­ty of its forms, ca­pa­ble of ap­pea­ring still mo­dern. The dé­cor de­no­tes a pre­fe­ren­ce for vintage and uses a wi­de ran­ge of ma­te­rials, from na­tu­ral to the mo­st sump­tuous. But No­to uses them sub­tly, ex­pres­sing a whi­spe­red luxury that does not com­pro­mi­se on com­fort. Sphe­ri­cal brass pen­dant lamps, ty­pi­cal­ly Six­ties, il­lu­mi­na­te a goat lea­ther cof­fee ta­ble wi­th a par­ch­ment ef­fect, so­me of the designer’s own pie­ces. The Che­ster­field so­fa is ma­de co­sier by oli­ve vel­vet uphol­ste­ry, and the Louis XV sty­le arm­chairs re­st on a ca­sual over­si­zed si­sal rug, in chro­ma­tic pen­dant wi­th the cri­spy silks of the cur­tains. Har­mo­nious op­po­si­tes too, in the se­lec­tion of art­works: the clo­se-ups of pho­to­gra­pher Mas­si­mo Li­stri are com­bi­ned wi­th can­did Roman

busts and bron­ze and sil­ver Bud­d­ha sta­tues. In the be­droom, the por­trait The Ban­ker, by Ma­ry A. Wa­ters, ob­ser­ves wi­th a vei­led my­ste­rious ga­ze the pain­tings of Paul Jou­ve, An­dré Mar­gat and Geor­ges-Lu­cien Guyot, ma­sters of ani­mal pain­ting in the ni­ne­teen­th and twen­tie­th cen­tu­ries. The lay­out of fur­ni­tu­re and ac­ces­so­ries con­veys a mar­ked sen­se of sym­me­try. “I de­ve­lo­ped it whi­le wor­king on va­rious pro­jec­ts wi­th In­do­ne­sian de­si­gn gu­ru Ja­ya Pra­to­mo Ibra­him. The­se in­clu­ded the Aman Re­sorts and se­ve­ral GHM ho­tels, su­ch as the Se­tai Ho­tel Mia­mi. The pur­suit of ba­lan­ce in­fu­ses se­re­ni­ty and har­mo­ny; it is so­me­thing I al­ways seek, but wi­th mea­su­re, avoi­ding the ex­ces­ses that ri­sk lea­ving the spa­ces too cold”, he con­clu­des. The­re is cer­tain­ly no ri­sk of that he­re. Be­cau­se the vo­lup­tuou­sness of the or­na­ment ou­tli­nes an en­ve­lo­ping di­men­sion li­ke a warm do­me­stic em­bra­ce.

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