​paris 1850-2003: domestic archaeology in duplex vmcf atelier | homify
​Paris 1850-2003: Domestic Archaeology in duplex VMCF ATELIER
​Paris 1850-2003: Domestic Archaeology in duplex VMCF ATELIER
​Paris 1850-2003: Domestic Archaeology in duplex VMCF ATELIER

Although the building was constructed as early as 1850, the apartment designed by Valerio Maria Ferrari and Cinzia Mazzone was officially created in 2003. That year saw the purchase of the 60 square metres of the home on the 5th floor of a classical building on the Rive Gauche (Left Bank) and the 10 chambre de bonne*

on the top floor.

By incorporating the common areas (staircases, corridors,

etc.) the apartment was enlarged to its current size of some 220mq.

* A small attic (about 10 square meters) generally intended for the domestic staff living in the building.

’Eliminating to clear away the encrusted interventions that had followed each other over 150 years, and so returning to the original structure, explains Valerio Maria Ferrari was almost an archaeological gesture, as well as being conceptual and material. The most fascinating and surprising discovery was that the structure was designed by Jean-Baptiste Lesueur (architect of the Hotel de Ville, destroyed by fire in the late 1800s) and was of iron - instead of the more common timber - at the request of the owner. The restoration process brought to light a wall en pierre de taille (dressed stone) with some fossils visible in the stones.

’The conviction that family and domestic space should preserve secrets to be discovered suggested to me the importance of the mobility of certain elements that could redefine the space to which they belonged, depending on their position.Treating the Interiors in which we live as fixed and unchangeable reduces the fascination and excitement of the relationship we have with this setting. So I thought that in the total redesign of the spaces, places, features, details… I would also spatially define some unexpected obstacles that would compel the occupants to refocus in different ways on things.” V.M.F.

’The most obvious elements of this design approach are the doors which I positioned not just so as to open/close the rooms, but to create unusual, non-orthogonal routes through them which dilate the entrance to the next space (see in the plan office1 and office2). And again on the same floor I created a forced crossing, with low walls that are in part outsized, so as to access the heart of the house with the kitchen divided into a ’cooking area and preparation area’ , so as to create objectively not very easy passages to be traversed. To highlight the circular route through the home I rounded the walls in order to guide the gaze first to the body of the building and then pass from one room to another. V.M.F.

In this house are collected many works of contemporary art, by modern and old masters, and many of the finest international design products

Technical details:

Project: Valerio Maria Ferrari, Cinzia Mazzone—VMCF Atelier (www.vmcfatelier.com) Virtual Machine Concept Facilities

Collaborators: Alessandro Cattaneo

Year: 2003/2011

Location: Paris (France)

total surface area: 220 sq. metres

photo credits : Eric Laignel

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