February 2, 2023

In Paris, an Apartment Built on Heirlooms and Wicker

IN 1953, THE mom and dad of Benoît Rauzy, 53, a co-founder of the layout studio Atelier Vime, moved into a timeworn two-ground flat in Paris’s Saint-Germain-des-Prés. The neighborhood — a tangle of streets radiating from the 11th-century Saint-Germain-des-Prés abbey — was in these days a sanctuary for artists, poets and freethinkers, a put where philosophers and writers like Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir would assemble in cafes to share strategies. “There was a deep perception of intellectual independence,” Rauzy states. His father, a dentist, had an office environment on the 1st ground of the six-story early 18th-century creating, the place he would are inclined to the neighborhood’s eclectic citizens. “Some of them went to see the dentist following browsing Serge Gainsbourg,” Rauzy recalls, referring to his family’s onetime neighbor, the famed pop provocateur, “so of course they ended up complete of whiskey!” Many years afterwards, the place is recognized for its garments boutiques and galleries. But Rauzy, now joined by his companion in lifestyle and operate, Anthony Watson, 40, even now calls Saint-Germain-des-Prés, and the apartment he grew up in, household.

Potentially unsurprisingly, the couple’s perform is rooted in preserving the previous. With Atelier Vime, they have produced wicker furniture — most not long ago involved with stuffy ’80s-period décor — related all over again. Partial to Modernist designers like Charlotte Perriand and Tito Agnoli, the pair began gathering woven home furnishings 16 yrs ago. In 2014, when they acquired an 18th-century hôtel particulier in the Provençal village of Vallabrègues, Rauzy, then an environmental guide, and Watson, a stylist, found out the building had at the time been a basket-weaving workshop, one of various in the location for the duration of the 19th and 20th hundreds of years. Then as now, the swampy Rhône river delta was a supply of the willow plant applied to make wicker merchandise. Two a long time afterwards, they started working in classic parts and creating their own, bringing on Raphaëlle Hanley, a former leather-based goods artistic director at Yves Saint Laurent, to support with the style and design. Balancing the heat of handcrafted pieces with fluid, refined sorts, their get the job done ranges from simple leaf-formed wall sconces to daybeds adorned with scalloped rattan skirting. Amid their signature parts is the Aramis pendant lamp, a 41/2-foot-large circular gentle with sensitive crosshatching particulars that involves about 40 several hours of braiding in their Vallabrègues workshop.

Though THE Residence in Vallabrègues inspired the few to deliver the previous into the long run, the Paris apartment for Rauzy continues to be a place of memory. “I can nevertheless see my father doing work,” he states, perched on a sled-shaped rattan chaise by the French Art Deco designer Louis Sognot in the sitting down place of the 2,045-sq.-foot condominium. Loathe to erase signs of that earlier era, he hasn’t felt the have to have to change a lot over and above introducing a fresh coat of paint given that returning to his family members home in 2002 to tend to his ailing father, who died in 2004. (His mom continue to lives in a neighboring flat.) And while their property often serves as their Paris showroom, indicating that Rauzy and Watson regularly swap out new designs and discoveries, the place continue to evokes a bygone metropolis.

On crossing the apartment’s threshold, people quickly enter the small galley kitchen, its walls painted a deep forest green and lined with stacks of modular purple-and-white plastic Kartell storage device blocks ordered in the ’60s by Rauzy’s parents. From there, the house unfolds in an enfilade of slim rooms. Relocating throughout the worn and creaking herringbone parquet floor, friends go by way of a smaller lounge with a 1940s raffia armchair by the French Swiss Modernist household furniture designers Adrien Audoux and Frida Minnet that is placed future to a black facet desk hand-painted with summary figures from the Cerenne ceramics workshop, active in southern France in the ’40s and ’50s. Right here, the couple have affixed to the wall a sequence of wicker panels of their own design and style, from which they have hung a cluster of 19th-century blended-earth ceramic plates made in the town of Uzès. Future is the eating place, where the area-age type of a white lacquered Eero Saarinen tulip table — released in 1957 and accompanied listed here by matching chairs and mushroom-shaped stools — gives a Modernist counterpoint to several hefty wood antiques: an 18th-century marble-topped rosewood veneer commode by the German French cabinetmaker Jean-Baptiste Courte that when belonged to Rauzy’s grandmother an elegantly carved Directoire chair discovered at a neighborhood antiques store and an empire armchair, observed at an auction, with a tapestry-upholstered seat depicting a scene from the 17th-century fables of La Fontaine.

But it is not only pedigreed household furniture that populates the flat. Rauzy is an obsessive art collector: “I shell out about a few hrs a day seeking for paintings,” he says. The couple’s particular collection dates primarily from the 1920s and ’30s and was largely purchased at auction. It contains an oversize plaster bust of a young woman by the French Romanian sculptor Margaret Cossaceanu, set on a tawny rattan side desk by Paul Frankl in an alcove off the sitting room. Just opposite, between symmetrical floor-to-ceiling home windows, is a more compact bust in terra cotta and its identical plaster analyze by the Spanish sculptor Josep Clarà. A set of wartime pencil drawings they believe to be by Marcel Duchamp, which includes a person depicting a pig resembling Adolf Hitler swinging from the gallows, hold on the eating room wall.

Lots of other works have occupied the dwelling considering the fact that extensive in advance of Rauzy and Watson moved in. Though Rauzy’s moms and dads were not artists, they surrounded by themselves with resourceful individuals. Artist good friends would appear to stay for a period in the modest previous maid’s suite, now a guest area, nestled beneath the mansard roof (the remaining two bedrooms are on the main flooring below). Many would give their hosts get the job done in exchange. A collage by the Russian artist Nikolai Dronnikov leans towards a sitting down space wall, and in the attic suite, on the whitewashed wall previously mentioned the spartan single mattress, Rauzy and Watson have hung an Expressionist-model painting of a vibrant cafe by the Russia-born painter turned translator Nina Nidermiller, a single of the family’s recurrent company.

The few have ongoing this custom, surrounding on their own with artists in their own way. For Atelier Vime, they lately made a restricted collection of minimal-slung rattan and hammered-copper cupboards with their close friend the New York-primarily based painter and illustrator Wayne Pate, who embellished the pieces with drawings of leaves. They also produced a assortment of hand-printed linen tablecloths produced with the French designer Marie Victoire de Bascher. Relatively than simply an chance to collaborate, they see this cross-pollination as a way to cultivate community — much as Rauzy’s mother and father did so several years in the past. “It’s just our purely natural way of living,” Rauzy states.

Photo assistant: Olivier Hallot