LE COR­BUS­IER EF­FECT Words ALI MOR­RIS Pho­tog­ra­phy FRED­ERIC DUCOUT/LIV­ING IN­SIDE Pro­duc­tion MARIO DE CAS­TRO

In­spired by the fa­mous ar­chi­tect’s clever use of built-in fur­ni­ture, this apart­ment in Paris makes the most of ev­ery square me­tre

ELLE Decoration (UK) - - Sourcebook | Bedrooms -

Marie-char­lotte Vi­enne’s Parisian apart­ment is an ar­chi­tec­tural gem that is as in­spir­ing and mod­ern to­day as when it was con­ceived over five decades ago. It be­longed to her fa­ther, Swiss en­gi­neer Charles Vi­enne, who bought the 30-square-me­tre for­mer paint­ing stu­dio in 1961. The build­ing was short on space but full of light and, see­ing its po­ten­tial, Charles sought the coun­sel of Swiss-french ar­chi­tect Le Cor­bus­ier (a good friend of his mother), whose open-plan lay­outs and space-sav­ing built-in stor­age, used to great ef­fect in nearby build­ings Villa La Roche and Villa Jeanneret (see in­spi­ra­tion on p138), had won great ac­claim.

A meet­ing was set up be­tween the two at the Cité Radieuse (Ra­di­ant City), the fa­mous Bru­tal­ist hous­ing block in Mar­seille de­signed by Le Cor­bus­ier in 1935. The ren­dezvous was fruit­ful, and Charles was awarded with a let­ter from Le Cor­bus­ier stat­ing that he could use his con­cep­tual ideas in the de­sign of his new home.

One year later, un­der the guid­ance of in­te­rior ar­chi­tect and de­signer Janette Laver­rière, the apart­ment came to life, re­alised in a pal­ette of crisp white, Formica, ma­hogany and flashes of pri­mary colour. Its C-shaped lay­out is spread across two floors, with the main liv­ing ar­eas oc­cu­py­ing a dou­ble-height space on the ground level. The lofty ceil­ings – up to five-me­tres in the cen­tre of the liv­ing room – help to off­set the apart­ment’s small foot­print.

The open-plan down­stairs ac­com­mo­dates a fire­place mounted on a ter­ra­cotta-tiled wall and an al­cove lined with shelves and draw­ers, from which a sofa bed slides out when re­quired. Ev­ery inch of dead space is given over to stor­age: the win­dow seat (op­po­site the sofa bed) con­ceals cubby holes be­neath its Mon­drian-in­spired leather cush­ions, and there are cup­boards on ei­ther side of the win­dows. On the mez­za­nine level above, the kitchen is hid­den be­hind ma­hogany doors and com­ple­mented by a din­ing ta­ble that folds out from a cup­board.

‘I am very fond of the de­sign pe­riod that my home rep­re­sents,’ says Marie-char­lotte. ‘It’s a time when space was a mas­ter pre­oc­cu­pa­tion, when artists, ar­chi­tects and in­te­rior de­sign­ers were work­ing on the L’es­prit Nou­veau. For me, less is more, and the ab­sence of fur­ni­ture fits well with my life­style.’ ➤

‘FOR ME, LESS IS MORE AND THE LACK OF FUR­NI­TURE FITS WELL WITH MY LIFE­STYLE’

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