February 6, 2023


A Home Grown Success

In Paris, an Condominium Constructed on Heirlooms and Wicker

IN 1953, THE mothers and fathers of Benoît Rauzy, 53, a co-founder of the structure studio Atelier Vime, moved into a timeworn two-flooring flat in Paris’s Saint-Germain-des-Prés. The community — a tangle of streets radiating from the 11th-century Saint-Germain-des-Prés abbey — was in individuals times a sanctuary for artists, poets and freethinkers, a location exactly where philosophers and writers like Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir would gather in cafes to share ideas. “There was a deep feeling of intellectual freedom,” Rauzy suggests. His father, a dentist, had an office environment on the 1st flooring of the six-story early 18th-century constructing, the place he would are inclined to the neighborhood’s eclectic people. “Some of them went to see the dentist following checking out Serge Gainsbourg,” Rauzy recollects, referring to his family’s onetime neighbor, the famed pop provocateur, “so of study course they have been whole of whiskey!” Many years afterwards, the place is acknowledged for its outfits boutiques and galleries. But Rauzy, now joined by his associate in life and get the job done, Anthony Watson, 40, however phone calls Saint-Germain-des-Prés, and the condominium he grew up in, dwelling.

Probably unsurprisingly, the couple’s operate is rooted in preserving the earlier. With Atelier Vime, they have built wicker furniture — most not long ago connected with stuffy ’80s-period décor — pertinent all over again. Partial to Modernist designers like Charlotte Perriand and Tito Agnoli, the few commenced collecting woven home furnishings 16 a long time back. In 2014, when they acquired an 18th-century hôtel particulier in the Provençal village of Vallabrègues, Rauzy, then an environmental marketing consultant, and Watson, a stylist, found the setting up had at the time been a basket-weaving workshop, a person of several in the location all through the 19th and 20th hundreds of years. Then as now, the swampy Rhône river delta was a supply of the willow plant employed to make wicker products. Two decades later, they commenced dealing in vintage items and creating their have, bringing on Raphaëlle Hanley, a previous leather-based items creative director at Yves Saint Laurent, to support with the style and design. Balancing the warmth of handcrafted items with fluid, refined varieties, their operate ranges from simple leaf-shaped wall sconces to daybeds adorned with scalloped rattan skirting. Among their signature items is the Aramis pendant lamp, a 41/2-foot-large circular light-weight with delicate crosshatching specifics that necessitates over 40 hours of braiding in their Vallabrègues workshop.

Although THE Household in Vallabrègues encouraged the couple to carry the previous into the long run, the Paris apartment for Rauzy stays a put of memory. “I can nevertheless see my father doing work,” he claims, perched on a sled-formed 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 signals of that earlier era, he has not felt the require to alter significantly over and above adding a new coat of paint since returning to his family house in 2002 to are inclined to his ailing father, who died in 2004. (His mom nevertheless life in a neighboring flat.) And when their property once in a while serves as their Paris showroom, meaning that Rauzy and Watson often swap out new types and discoveries, the put nonetheless evokes a bygone town.

On crossing the apartment’s threshold, visitors instantly enter the small galley kitchen, its partitions painted a deep forest inexperienced and lined with stacks of modular purple-and-white plastic Kartell storage device blocks purchased in the ’60s by Rauzy’s dad and mom. From there, the room unfolds in an enfilade of slender rooms. Moving throughout the worn and creaking herringbone parquet ground, visitors pass through a tiny lounge with a 1940s raffia armchair by the French Swiss Modernist furniture designers Adrien Audoux and Frida Minnet that is positioned up coming to a black facet table hand-painted with abstract figures from the Cerenne ceramics workshop, active in southern France in the ’40s and ’50s. Listed here, the few have affixed to the wall a collection of wicker panels of their possess structure, from which they have hung a cluster of 19th-century blended-earth ceramic plates manufactured in the town of Uzès. Next is the dining room, where by the area-age form of a white lacquered Eero Saarinen tulip table — released in 1957 and accompanied below by matching chairs and mushroom-shaped stools — supplies a Modernist counterpoint to quite a few heavy wooden 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 uncovered 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’s not only pedigreed furniture that populates the flat. Rauzy is an obsessive art collector: “I shell out about three hours a working day on the lookout for paintings,” he says. The couple’s individual selection dates mostly from the 1920s and ’30s and was mostly acquired 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 down room. Just reverse, between symmetrical floor-to-ceiling windows, is a smaller bust in terra cotta and its similar plaster study by the Spanish sculptor Josep Clarà. A established of wartime pencil drawings they believe to be by Marcel Duchamp, such as just one depicting a pig resembling Adolf Hitler swinging from the gallows, hold on the dining place wall.

Many other is effective have occupied the house since lengthy ahead of Rauzy and Watson moved in. Although Rauzy’s moms and dads had been not artists, they surrounded themselves with resourceful men and women. Artist pals would arrive to stay for a time period in the tiny former maid’s suite, now a guest area, nestled beneath the mansard roof (the remaining two bedrooms are on the major ground below). Numerous would give their hosts perform in exchange. A collage by the Russian artist Nikolai Dronnikov leans towards a sitting down place wall, and in the attic suite, on the whitewashed wall over the spartan one mattress, Rauzy and Watson have hung an Expressionist-design painting of a vibrant cafe by the Russia-born painter turned translator Nina Nidermiller, 1 of the family’s regular guests.

The few have ongoing this tradition, bordering themselves with artists in their have way. For Atelier Vime, they not long ago designed a constrained sequence of reduced-slung rattan and hammered-copper cupboards with their mate the New York-centered painter and illustrator Wayne Pate, who decorated the parts with drawings of leaves. They also released a collection of hand-printed linen tablecloths generated with the French designer Marie Victoire de Bascher. Alternatively than merely an possibility to collaborate, they see this cross-pollination as a way to cultivate local community — significantly as Rauzy’s mother and father did so many yrs ago. “It’s just our organic way of dwelling,” Rauzy says.

Photo assistant: Olivier Hallot