A classic Haussmannian apartment in the middle of Paris’s prestigious Triangle d’Or is instilled with contemporary allure by Hélène Van Marcke.
Avenue Marceau Apartment has emerged from a contemporary design intervention by Hélène Van Marcke, rearranged for discerning modern living with an inherent respect for its heritage. “The owner’s bought the sixth-floor apartment and all the service rooms and spaces of the floor above,” Hélène Van Marcke explains. “The sixth floor was beautifully proportioned but needed some love, while the seventh floor needed to be fully demolished and rebuilt, including the roof structure!”
Hélène Van Marcke‘s brief called for effortless continuation and aesthetic harmony between both floors – connecting the etage noble and the etage de service – and a gentle dialogue with the landmarks visible in the surrounding views over Paris. Looking out to the Eiffel Tower from the lounge, the Sacre Coeur from the master bedroom and the Arc de Triomphe from the terrace, the home also leverages art and design to establish warmth and modern elegance.
Resting at the meeting point between the two floors, the sculptural curves of a sweeping staircase introduce a novel balance between the apartment’s genesis and its new relevance. “The plaster-clad staircase forms an interesting passage between the living room and private rooms,” Hélène explains. “They [the clients] wanted something that exuded warmth yet remained enough of a ‘blank canvas’ to display art and design objects.”
Bleached oak floors, open connections between rooms, plasterwork and ornamentation and a glass-enclosed atelier d’artiste conjure a sophisticated atmosphere transcending time and style. “These provided a solid base to draw inspiration from. The combination of old proportions, materials, and new design gestures gives it a timeless yet still Haussmannian feel,” Hélène says.
As co-owners of one of Paris’s most prominent art & design auction houses, the clients brought a depth of knowledge and styling inventory that imprints a poetic assemblage upon every corner. Through a mediation between intuitive and intentional planning, the home has absorbed the qualities and unique characteristics of its ornamentation and styling.
“They had already assembled a very personal and varied collection which I could choose from,” Hélène says.”That selection includes a double daybed designed by Pierre Charpin in the master bedroom, an outstanding Brazilian sofa in the lounge and a custom-made table by Nestor & Rotsen below a vintage Zeppelin chandelier by Marcel Wanders,” she adds. “There are also bookshelves in the bedroom by Van Severen, a vintage Gino Sarfatti chandelier, Paavo Tynell fixtures and a Sheila Hicks Tapestry.”
Avenue Marceau Apartment fluidly dovetails aesthetics, context and functionality. Hélène Van Marcke’s understanding the singular and collective accord between lifestyle, client personalities, building techniques and material characteristics has shaped a home that distils each of them into a place of purity.