Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
La Maison Champs-Elysées in Paris, France by Maison Martin Margiela
June 30th, 2011 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Maison Martin Margiela
Maison Martin Margiela has been entrusted with its first hotel collaboration and is therefore rethinking the interior design of hotel ‘la Maison Champs-Elysées’, which is located within the historical building of the Maison des Centraliens*. Situated at the junction of Avenue Montaigne, the Grand Palais and Place de la Concorde, the hotel is slated to relaunch with the designs from Maison Martin Margiela in July 2011.
After more than two decades of designing showrooms and shops to sell its collections throughout the world, Maison Martin Margiela has begun a new page in its history with projects involving interior architecture and design. The first projects date from 2009 beginning with the ‘Elle Décoration’ Suite at the Palais de Chaillot followed by the ‘Ile aux Oiseaux’ suite in the spa hotel ’Les Sources de Caudalie’ in Bordeaux.
However, collaborating with ‘la Maison Champs-Elysées’ has been the largest and most demanding project in terms of interior design since Maison Martin Margiela was first set up in 1988.
Bernadette Chevalier, la Maison Champs-Elysées representative explained, “With the help of Maison Martin Margiela, we wanted to offer clients in search of different experiences, new concepts of living space by redefining the rules and offering a luxurious but relaxed atmosphere, where minimalism of forms is served by incredible attention to detail. Moreover, this hotel is located in the centre of a district which brings the most prestigious French couture houses together.”
Maison Martin Margiela adds, “The Maison is delighted to reinterpret another house as its first Paris hotel project. Maison Martin Margiela has created a dramatic world where reality and make-believe seem to blend. The decor is like a succession of stage sets where references are mixed so as to create an unusual atmosphere where past and present jostle harmoniously.”
La Maison Champs-Elysées consists of two buildings, one dating from the Second Empire under Napoleon III, the other built more recently. Maison Martin Margiela, appointed after winning the competition to design the historical part of the building, has re-thought this space to create hotel suites, a restaurant, a smoking room, a bar and a reception area.
In designing this project Maison Martin Margiela aimed for continuity in relation to its own artistic history by offering a place where contrasts harmonize that are further tinged with surrealism. The Maison worked jointly with other artists (landscape painters and lighting engineers) to carry out this project.
The Reception Hall
The floor is made up of Mareuil limestone flagstones with black slate insets randomly scattered as if by the wind. The reception area in the shape of a mirrored prism is in the centre of this hall. This huge diamond gives an impression of infinite space. There are many wall lamps in brushed stainless steel on the white walls, which light up the outlines of missing paintings. Materials: Pierre de Mareuil (limestone flagstones), marble, mirrors, brushed stainless steel.
The Essling Bar
The floor and ceiling match each other by using a divided- up effect in black and white trompe-l’oeil. A wool carpet on the floor is printed with a classical-style French ceiling design while the ceiling is decorated with wallpaper printed with the same design. Traditional French panelling, coloured off-white, covers the walls, which themselves show traces of a past which never existed and where only the outlines of paintings and lighting remain. The ‘Groupe’ Margiela sofas, covered in white linen and cotton, face each other and are linked by low tables whose size is amplified by mirrors.
Materials: wool, paper, wood, brushed stainless steel, mirrors, cotton, linen.
Smoking Room/ Cigar Cellar
The Smoking room is like a negative of the bar- white becomes black. Black is dominant and club armchairs in dark brown leather are grouped around small, low cube-shaped tables made of mirrors which give this room an authentic English gentlemen’s club style. Traditional French panelling and parquet stained in black oak are literally burnt which creates the impression of disaster. Gentle lighting is diffused by little wall-lamps and suspended light fittings as well as black bottle lamps.
Materials: oak, cotton, leather, mirrors
Restaurant – 80 covers
The restaurant plays on the contrasts of materials and sensations: Flooring in waxed concrete and walls in formed concrete contrast with light, delicate furniture. Square tables and arm chairs in white cotton loose covers placed on a dull metal pedestal create an illusion of floating, bringing a note of surrealism to the place. The seating is entirely classical mixing Louis XV ‘Bergères’, Louis XVI Salon chairs, Louis XV Lyre Back chairs and Louis XVI Medallion Back chairs.
The background shows classical French wooden doors, but supersized. The mouldings, locks and casement bolts also emphasise the supersize theme. Three canvases stretched on the ceiling continue the theme of three classical distressed ceilings. Alcoves made mainly of silver birch printed with endless black and white classical cubes scattered on the walls. The restaurant offers a view of a green living wall through a glass screen and access the garden.
Materials: waxed concrete, Ductal® concrete, cotton, wood, silver birch.
After the reception hall, access to the restaurant and lifts is through a long corridor covered in wall-paper made from black and white photographs of the ‘golden salon’ on the second floor. A wool runner, printed with English-style parquet in black and white is laid on the waxed concrete flooring. Three ‘Montgolfier’ chandeliers with steel and crystal pendants have been deliberately mottled to age them.
The left partition wall in this corridor is made up of moveable panels on hinges, which form a visual filter between the corridor and the restaurant. They are printed with trompe-l’oeil on one side and on the other side stretched fabric lit from behind. Materials: wallpaper, waxed concrete, wool, steel, crystal.
The Antin Hall
This hall is situated behind the hotel. It provides access to a passageway leading to the garden and to the upper floors via the lifts. The walls and ceiling are entirely covered in aluminium sheets, applied by hand. The flooring is made up of big, silver, ceramic tiles. The lighting comes from a chandelier in the shape of a faceted diamond.
Materials: aluminium, ceramic, steel, Plexiglas, LED lights.
Landings and Corridors
The landings and corridors are entirely black: black paint on the walls and thick black carpeting on the floor. These dark spaces are lit up by projections of light which imitate sunlight filtering through non-existent doors or windows.
Suites with unfinished mouldings
These three suites with wood mouldings endlessly interrupted, like an unfinished work, or work in progress, offer a monochrome painting in white from very pale grey to light beige. The salon and bedroom are separated by a huge central space with sliding partitions to provide a complete or partial separation of the space. The ceiling is optical white and the fitted wool carpet is in very light beige.
The bathrooms are entirely made of vitreous enamel mosaic tiles. A mirror lit by a set of bulbs, like an artist’s dressing room, has been placed above a huge double basin in white stoneware. A large bath and an Italian-style walk-in shower complete the room.
Materials: wood, wool, vitreous enamel, mirrors.
The ‘Golden Salon’ suite
The walls are entirely covered in wallpaper made from black and white photographs taken of the golden salon on the second floor. The net curtains are printed with these same patterns. In this way, the perspectives and richness in decoration of the Second Empire style (Napoleon III) are reproduced as trompe-l’oeil on the fittings and furniture in the suite.
A huge library mural full of various books is put up over the bed head in the bedroom. The conveniences with all four walls covered with sections of different editions of magazines, continue this library theme. The flooring is English-style parquet in aged oak. The bathroom is entirely made of vitreous enamel mosaic tiles.
Materials: wallpaper, oak, vitreous enamel tiles, mirrors
The ‘Closet of Rarities’ suite
Black is overwhelmingly present in this suite. The walls are painted coal black and the English-style oak parquet is stained black. An entire wall of the salon is devoted to a closet of rarities displaying various objects and works of art. The curtains are fashioned from black wool cloth with fine pinstripes reminiscent of the traditional fabric for a gentleman’s suit. The bathroom is done in mosaic tiles.
Materials: oak, vitreous enamel, mirrors, wool cloth.
The ‘loose covers in white’ suite
Paintings, objects and furniture and fittings from the entrance are meticulously covered in white loose covers. In the salon and bedroom the upper part of the white walls differs from the lower part. The foot of the classical Haussmann walls with picture rails, frames and plinth contrast with the upper part made with wide panels of stretched white cotton. A set of bulbs in phosphorescent gypsum from the Urals frame a large mirror on the bedroom ceiling and illuminate the night. The flooring is English-style parquet in aged oak. In the bathroom the installation of white tiling with black pointing hints at a graph paper effect.
Materials: cotton, wood, gypsum from the Urals, oak, ceramics, mirror, tiling.
The small split-level suite/ unusual bedroom
This small suite is organized on two levels which gives it an unusual character. The hall including the dressing room leads to a staircase, which goes down to the bedroom. The entire wall on the right is draped with a white cotton curtain making a link between these two spaces. The flooring, walls and the bed head are in layered silver birch like a millefeuille of fine wood leaves. The bed is built into this structure.
A huge imaginary landscape, opposite the bed, has been specially printed onto wallpaper and is reflected on the adjacent wall which is entirely mirrored. In the bathroom the installation of white tiling with black pointing hints at a graph paper effect.
Materials: silver birch, wallpaper, mirror, cotton, ceramics, sheet of brass.
The Trompe-l’oeil bedrooms
These ten rooms are all made to the same design. The light beige wool fitted carpet is printed with a Persian rug in red tones and as if it were coming down from the bed in trompel’oeil fashion. The wall behind the bed head is enhanced by three frames of light painted to give the illusion of sunlight filtering through the adjacent windows. The wall, separating the bedroom from the bathroom is entirely made of silver birch and has built- in storage units and a desk. In the bathroom the installation of white tiling with black pointing hints at a graph paper effect.
Materials: wool, ceramics, tiling, mirror.
Who? Maison Martin Margiela
What? Hôtel la Maison Champs- Elysées, Seventeen suites and bedrooms**, restaurant, bar, smoking room and reception.
Where? 8 rue Jean Goujon- 8th district Paris
When? Inauguration planned for July 2011
(*)The rich history of the building in the rue Jean Goujon gives the house its unique character. In 1864, the Duchess of Rivoli, Princess d’Essling, Grand Mistress of the Empress Eugénie’s Household, had her private mansion built at number 8. Jules Pellechet, the French architect, designed the house in Haussmann style and it was finished in 1866.
In 1919, the Centraliens Society purchased the building as a meeting place for the activities of former pupils of the Ecole Centrale in Paris. The site grew and became a first class hotel and restaurant, between the purchase and 1989.
(**) The hotel has a total of fifty seven rooms of which seventeen have been redesigned by Maison Martin Margiela.
Contact Maison Martin Margiela