The Paris apartment of art director Jean-Christophe Aumas is a beautiful work in progress
Nothing ever stays in place for long in art director JeanChristophe Aumas’ apartment. ‘ Things are never fixed,’ he says. ‘It’s always a work in progress. That really is my leitmotif.’ More than anything, JeanChristophe sees his interiors as a ‘ laboratory’, a means of experimentation. His approach, he says, is intrinsically linked to his profession: ‘I can’t disassociate my work from my home.’
Jean-Christophe specialises in organising ephemeral events and special projects for luxury brands. Before setting up his own firm, Singular, he headed up the visual identity department at Louis Vuitton under Marc Jacobs. Today his clients include the likes of Céline, Dior and Boucheron. Ask him about his most over-the-top installations and he’ll mention the time he set a flock of sheep loose in the Printemps department store in Paris, and a project during which he filled a John Galliano shop with a mountain of shredded paper. And, quite often, elements originally conceived for his projects end up in his homes. A pink-painted wooden stand in the entrance to his current apartment is a case in point: it was constructed for a dinner hosted by a Parisian fashion brand.
The flat in question is something of a hidden gem. Located in the heart of Pigalle, it was inhabited by a sorcerer and soothsayer during the 19th century. Measuring 120m2, it is accessed today via a long corridor, at the end of which is an ornately sculpted door. Push that and you’ll discover the hallway continues until you finally reach JeanChristophe’s abode, some 20m from the street.
He says he was attracted by its unique nature. ‘There’s a contrast between lots of different things, which gives the apartment its charm,’ he says. They include typical Parisian architectural attributes, such as marble fireplaces and ceiling mouldings, as well as a skylight and a striking set of stainedglass windows whose bright colours are projected inwards on sunny days. ‘The flat becomes a little cathedral,’ says Jean-Christophe.
Another draw was the patio, as well as the apartment’s overall atmosphere of tranquillity.
‘It’s a big contradiction to the neighbourhood, which is very animated,’ he says. ‘Pigalle has become one of the new hotspots for going out.’
One of Jean-Christophe’s primary concerns was to increase the amount of natural light in the space. He added a new skylight above the front door and installed all-glass doors – formerly solid wood – to access the terrace. He was also keen to blur the boundary between the inside and outside, and did so by installing an abundance of plants. ‘I wanted to create a kind of mini-jungle,’ he says. ‘I like a slightly haphazard, untidy spirit.’
Among Jean-Christophe’s most admirable talents is an astute and original way of using colour. He painted the opening between the entrance hall and sitting room three different hues, and chose cerulean for a ledge above the bed. The blue of the dining room walls is so pale, however, that you initially imagine it to be white.
The inspiration for the rest of the decor was diverse. Both the kitchen and bathroom are reminiscent of a traditional Greek house. ‘The Mediterranean influence comes from the fact that I’m from the south of France,’ says Jean-Christophe, who was born in Aix-en-Provence. Throughout, the form of the stained-glass windows gave rise to the incorporation of numerous arches and curved shapes.
Jean- Christophe blurred the boundary between the inside and outside by installing an abundance of plants: ‘I wanted to create a kind of mini-jungle. I like a slightly haphazard, untidy spirit.’
Very few of the furnishings were brought here from his previous home. Exceptions include the 1970s leather and brass dining chairs, acquired at a Brussels flea market, and the Vincenzo De Cotiis sofa in the sitting room, which is one of his favourite possessions.
Another of Jean-Christophe’s passions is ceramics. One of his pieces, from Danish potter Frederik Nystrup Larsen’s Not a Sports Club series, has a rather naïve nature that he particularly likes. Deliberate imperfections are evident elsewhere, too. Artworks are propped nonchalantly against the walls or on the floor, and the blue mirror above the fireplace in the living room looks as if it has been cut out badly. Its irregular edges are, however, intentional. Jean-Christophe also painted only part of the kitchen ceiling, but is so satisfied with the way it looks that he’s planning to leave it incomplete. Still, considering his love of constant change, you’re never quite sure. singular-paris.com
Deliberate imperfections are evident elsewhere, too. Artworks are propped nonchalantly against the walls or on the f loor, and the blue mirror above the fireplace in the living room looks as if it has been cut out badly. Its irregular edges are, however, intentional.
T HIS PAGE, F ROM TOPColour-coordinated books and knick-knacks are housed in a plywood bookshelf, in front of which, on the left, is a chair by Warren Platner. The stool on the right was bought in Cape Town; adjacent to the master bedroom is the dining room, which is bathed in light thanks to exquisite stainedglass windows original to the apartment, reportedly inhabited by a soothsayer in the 19th century. The bright red rug from Bleu de Fes is a cheerful departure from the predominant blues and greens.