Sun Dial Apartment

Sun Dial Apartment

75004 Paris, France | View Map
Année du projet
Gaelle Le Boulicaut
Fiche technique du produit

ÉlémentMarqueProduct Name
Basins and toilet Duravit
Lume, Frappuccino - Marble Look, Capraia - Marble Look
Wall lights Flos
Kelvin Edge, Flauta Riga
FurnitureLigne Roset
Lamps Martinelli Luce

Fiche technique du produit
Basins and toilet
Lume, Frappuccino - Marble Look, Capraia - Marble Look by Marazzi
Wall lights
Kelvin Edge, Flauta Riga by Flos
VIK, ENKI by Ligne Roset

Major refurbishment of a two-storey apartment

Manuelle Gautrand Architecture en tant que Interior architecture - decoration.

This colourful renovation of a Parisian apartment space successfully reunites the inhabitants with the rhythms of the day with and interior design scheme that is distinctly architectural.

“In Paris we can easily fall into darkness and a kind of disintegration with the elements of nature” cautions Manuelle Gautrand. “As someone who was raised in Marseille, I am particularly attached to the qualities of colour and natural light” .

photo_credit Gaelle Le Boulicaut
Gaelle Le Boulicaut

Gautrand, heads up the multiple award winning Paris based and eponymously named architectural practise with projects on several continents. They recently launched into designing interior spaces and were commissioned to remodel this 120 m2 apartment on the top two floors of one side of a ‘Hotel Particulier’ in Paris’s Marais district- a building that predates Haussmanian architecture by almost 200 years. 

photo_credit Gaelle Le Boulicaut
Gaelle Le Boulicaut

Gautrand’s clients, a Paris based professional couple had lived in the apartment for many years with their two children who had since left home. The apartment was heavily partitioned and entire remodel of the interior volume was envisaged, making an open, light filled, stylish space that reflected their passion for modern art and design and making the most of the apartments position at the top of the building. Everyone agreed that when you have the advantage of a visual connection to the sky in Paris, you need make the most of it.

photo_credit Gaelle Le Boulicaut
Gaelle Le Boulicaut

“We wanted to break from the ideas and images of Bourgeois Parisian apartment, and lean more towards something that is more in the order of a holiday house, like a ‘cabane de plage’,  those small but colourful shelters from which one steps out to the sun and sky. We wanted to create something that leaned more towards an artistic statement, and not just a historical one. We wanted to use colour and we wanted to sculpt the volumes. There is a kind of ambivalence and diversity of ambiences within the project, which I like” says the owner.

photo_credit Gaelle Le Boulicaut
Gaelle Le Boulicaut

Gautrand’s plan arose from two principle pre existing features in the apartment: an East-West perspective, and the fact that it occupied the space under roofline of the building. Besides creating a free flowing, light filled space, the ‘under the roof’ aspect of the project had to exploited to maximum effect.

photo_credit Gaelle Le Boulicaut
Gaelle Le Boulicaut

The pre existing double height windows on eastern and western facades immediately imposed a raised ceiling level in these areas of the main room. Gautrand went all the way designing a mezzanine on the western end of the space which houses a guest bedroom and opens onto the void via atelier style windows. The kitchen end of the space also opens upward and although not as high (the main bedroom is located above), these variations in volume provide important spatial relief, and practically serve as light wells throughout the day.

photo_credit Gaelle Le Boulicaut
Gaelle Le Boulicaut

By deliberate contrast, the apartments entry is a moody dark wood panelled antechamber, inspired by a historical cabinet. Curiosities, anthropology in masks and photo studies of decorated women feature on the walls, a wink to rituals of dressing for daily sorties perhaps. But it’s intimacy and snugness is accentuated by the decompression and counterpoint of the main room glimpsed beyond.

photo_credit Gaelle Le Boulicaut
Gaelle Le Boulicaut

An architectural work of volume, the main room is composed of cascading ceiling that steps between the kitchen, dining and lounge areas. There is a clear flow between these spaces but each is defined by its use of colour and materiality. The low ceiling over the dining area is conducive to intimacy but at the extremities of the room, the relatively low ceiling is released towards the higher ceilings and ultimately the roofline. This allows the double height windows at each end the height required to open, but it’s also part of the recurring play of varied volumes which is clearing thematic within the space.  It’s this abundant light source, and the decompression that the visitor experiences in the double height volumes at either end that gives the interior its the richness.

photo_credit Gaelle Le Boulicaut
Gaelle Le Boulicaut

The kitchen, designed for relaxed conviviality and sharing uses the monumental permanent quality of seamless travertine on an island designed to be moved around fluidly. Travertine surfaces also define the kitchens perimeter.  In the dining area, the iconic singularity of an elliptical marble form of Saarinen’s Tulip table, and deep comfort of ‘Vik’ chairs by Thibault Desombre constitute a warm invitation surrounded by waist high shelves displaying monographic themed books and souvenirs. A striking collection of portraits lines one wall;  paintings, photos, in multiple styles and eras, the common theme of which is ‘women’- everything from an Inuit to Princess Leia. A small bar table for two is an alternative place to take in the sun by he window, and perhaps marvel at the centrepiece of the entire project-a sculptural staircase that not only summits on the second level of the home, but rhythmically extends to the surrounding walls in a play of light colour and shadow.

photo_credit Gaelle Le Boulicaut
Gaelle Le Boulicaut

Capitalising on the daylight asset, on the second floor Gautrand  drew what she describes as a ‘continuous and uninterrupted corridor of sky” that extends the entire depth of the building. It’s an ever-present reference to something that’s quite rare in Paris homes - the sky. As she says, when you have it , you make the most of it”, and so she did.

photo_credit Gaelle Le Boulicaut
Gaelle Le Boulicaut

“The goal was to create a strip of natural light, through which the suns influence, whether it be cold white winter light or warm summer, could cast its shadow and influence the interior, upstairs and down, throughout the day.

photo_credit Gaelle Le Boulicaut
Gaelle Le Boulicaut

“A traditional staircase would have interfered with the continuity of this strip of sky and so I began playing with the relief that these 20cm thick pieces of cellular concrete would make and the stairs came out of this. Then I decided to make it even bigger, so that it extended up the wall of the mezzanine and onto the wall under the skylight.

photo_credit Gaelle Le Boulicaut
Gaelle Le Boulicaut

The shadows cast, the reflections and nuance of colour unwind and play their innumerable variations year out. Each days particular qualities of light, from it beginning through the windows to the east and traversing the thin strip of sky in the roof to the windows on the western facade. It’s not alchemy, but a natural element made magical never-the-less. And colour in all of this was key.

photo_credit Gaelle Le Boulicaut
Gaelle Le Boulicaut

Pollock Yellow, “the colour of the sun” as Manuelle describes it, ensures whatever the quality of light on any day, the entire apartment is influenced by that lights refraction off the yellow wall. “It’s a kind of artificial sun” she enthuses. Pink for the steps themselves was inspired from the apartment’s original resin floor in the same colour to which the owners were particularly attached,  and almond green is a direct reference to the plants that cascade from the planter box under the mezzanine window. “We are in a universe where plants are important, and this celadon ensures that the plants stand out. Between the natural light and the plantings, the objective was to bring the outdoors inside as much as possible. Besides, these three colours go very well together” she quips.

photo_credit Gaelle Le Boulicaut
Gaelle Le Boulicaut

Maintaining an element of tension, a sense of surprise and contrast through out the interior was important.

The skylight is mirrored by a high gloss lacquered wood floor that hints at the zen-like simplicity of the sleeping space literally tucked under the roof at the end of it.  By contrast the bathroom, entirely boxed out in brown and white marble (brown for vertical surfaces, and white for horizontal ones) is worthy of an Italian palazzo, the extravagance of the 1970’s light fitting by Mokoto Ishii is an un expected touch in a space that is pure luxury and that Manuelle describes as being like a therme.

photo_credit Gaelle Le Boulicaut
Gaelle Le Boulicaut

Like the Mokoto Ishi lamp, or a spectacular pair of earrings or broach, fine attention to the details make the project complete, but these are hung on what is essentially an architectural treatment of the volume to sculpt the space. “The higher level was always gong to interrupt the lower space but we worked to make it as pleasing as possible. The synthesis of the work is an apartment that follows the suns daily arc. Its a compass to keep the inhabitant in harmony with the hours of the day”.

photo_credit Gaelle Le Boulicaut
Gaelle Le Boulicaut
photo_credit Gaelle Le Boulicaut
Gaelle Le Boulicaut

Material Used :

- Floor and wall coverings
Wooden flooring AUTREMENT LES SOLS

- Ironmongery
Cupboard handles FURNIPART

- Taps
Mixer tap NEVE
Shower column GROHE

- Ceramics

- Electricity – Heating – Air conditioning
Plugs and switches APIR SWITCHES
Radiators ACOVA
Air conditioning DAIKIN

- Lighting
Ceiling lights AGO LIGHTING,

- Furniture
Chairs ROSET
Tables KNOLL and GUBI


Furniture - Lighting:
- wall light:vintage PEIL & PUTZER ‘Wave’ (designer: Koch & Lowy)

Fit-out materials – installations:
- cupboard made-to-measure in walnut veneer

Mobiliers - Luminaires: Furniture - Lighting
- wall light: NEMO LIGHTING ‘Linescapes Wall’ 
- hanging light:NEMO LIGHTING ‘Linescapes Pendant’ 

Fit-out materials – installations:
- tiling: MARAZZI ‘Lume Green’ 
- wash basin:CARRELAGES DES SUDS,black marble
- toilet:DURAVIT ‘Happy D.2’, in black

Fit-out materials – installations:
- work surface: CARRELAGES DES SUDS ‘Silver’ travertine 
- sink: VILLEROY & BOCH ‘Subway XU’ 
- mixer tap:NEVE ‘Kik8b’, bronze finish
- kitchen units: IKEA
- appliances: ELECTROLUX, LIEBHERR, …

Furniture – Lighting:
- ceiling light: AGO LIGHTING ‘Cirkus Track modular’ (designer: Mars HwasungYoo)
- wall lights: NEMO LIGHTING ‘Lampe de Marseille’ (designer: Le Corbusier)
- vintage bar stools in bamboo and rattan, 1970s

Furniture – Lighting:
- hanging light: AGO LIGHTING ‘CirkusChandelier – Large’ (designer: Mars HwasungYoo)
- lamp: KARTELL ‘Bourgie' (designer: FerruccioLaviani)
- chairs: ROSET ‘Vik’ (designer: Thibault Desombre)
- table: KNOLL ‘Tulip’, oval, Arabescatomarble (designer: Eero Saarinen)

Furniture – Lighting:
- lamp: MARTINELLI LUCE ‘Pipistrello’ (designer: GaeAulenti)
- vintage glass lamp: MURANO MAZZEGA, 1970s
- wall lights: FLOS ‘Balum-A230’ (designer: Achille Castiglioni)
- sofa: ROSET ‘Enki’ (designer: EvangelosVasileiou)
- bar stools: ROSET ‘Vik’ (designer: Thibault Desombre)
- bar table: GUBI ‘TS Column’, marble (designer: GamFratesi)
- vintage brutalist coffee table in travertine and glass, 1970s (designer: Willy Ballez)
- rug: BRINK & CAMPMAN ‘Arris Teal Pink’
- Empire style chest-of-drawers, 1850s

Fit-out materials – installations:
- tiling: MARAZZI ‘Grand Marble Look’, Frappuccino &Capraia
- shower column: GROHE ‘Euphoria Smartcontrol 310’, brushed brass
- mixer taps: NEVE ‘Fly’, bronze finish
- wash basin: DURAVIT ‘Durastyle’

Furniture – Lighting:
- vintage wall light: STAFF ‘Muurlamp of Tafellamp’ 1970s (designer: Mokoto Ishii)
- wall lights: NEMO LIGHTING ‘Norma’
- coat hooks: KWANTUM ‘Twist’ (designer: Frederik Roijé)

Furniture – Lighting:
- wall light: FLOS ‘Flauta Riga’ (designer: Patricia Urquiola)
- lamps: FLOS ‘Kelvin Edge’ (designer:AntinioCitterio)
- vintage wool tapestry by Jean Picart Le Doux, 1950s

Furniture – Lighting:
- hanging light: NEMO LIGHTING ‘Linescapes Pendant’ 
- vintage glass wall light: POLIARTE, 1970s
- vintage Alsatian chairs: 1850

Fit-out materials – installations:
- plugs and switches: APIR SWITCHES ‘4.0’ collection, brushed brass
- door handles: COLOMBO DESIGN ‘Roboquattro’,Oromat
- cupboard handles: FURNIPART ‘Bench’, brushed brass
- solid oak flooring: AUTREMENT LES SOLS, ‘Home Again’matte varnish
- radiators: ACOVA ‘Cala’, ‘Fassane Premium’ and ‘Planea’
- air conditioning units: DAIKIN ‘Stylish’

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