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Respectfully Rebellious

Paris, France

In this composed Le Marais apartment full of street art, classic Parisian architecture is given a modern update by Sophie Dries

French architect and designer Sophie Dries has overhauled a traditional Haussmannian apartment in Paris’ Le Marais district, creating a single 100 sqm family home from what was previously two separate dwellings. While some of the ornate cornicing and other architectural details remain, other areas have been treated with a more pared-back approach, with arched internal openings and simple window treatments, a suitably mixed backdrop for the eclectic furnishings within.

An open-plan living-dining room forms the heart of the apartment, separated by a large arched opening. The owners’ collection of street art, from names such as Bansky and Jon One, contrasts with highly traditional herringbone parquet floor and an opulent fireplace. A Saarinen Tulip table is surrounded by Hans Wegner chairs; the chairs’ buff-coloured upholstery that picks up on a ceramic artwork, which hangs above a white sideboard that’s so minimal it practically melts in to the wall.

Dries sourced furniture and other objects from some of Paris’s best dealers and galleries: Galerie Escougnou-Cetraro supplied the Florian Sumi metal sculpture on the sideboard, while Paul Bourdet, who specialises in French 1980s design, was the go-to dealer for the Philippe Stark Dr Sonderbar chair, a delicate-looking tubular creation made by Ox France in the early part of the decade.

Hot, earthy tones in the living space – a carmine-red carpet and rust-coloured curtains – are carried over into the kitchen, where the walls, floors and ceiling are all a rich terracotta shade that creates a cocooning effect. There’s also a more informal dining space here, an upholstered banquette that curves around a Les Arcs pentagonal table by Charlotte Perriand; the full-stop at the end of this sinuous built-in bench is a Philippe Stark Mickville chair, another early-1980s find from Paul Bourdet, which has the same visually light aesthetic as the Starck chair in the living area.

Dries set up her studio in 2014 when still in her late 20s, and currently works between Paris and Milan. As well as practicing interior design and architecture she has also designed limited edition furniture and a rug collection, and several of her accessories appear in this project, including a ceramic vase on the kitchen table, and a pair of gypsum and metal candleholders on the fireplace. These products have a primitive-meets-industrial look, with rough, scored surfaces that show their production techniques and heavily patinated metals.

This is a family home, and the children’s spaces have been treated to an uplifting hit of colour, with acid-bright yellow walls. Dries then retreats to some sophisticated vintage pieces that will nonetheless stand up to the rigors of play, with a wooden desk and rattan armchair. Framed graffiti by Jon One sits next to an old map of Europe, both of them appealingly graphic yet contrasting in scale and purpose.

A more toned-down palette has been chosen for the master bedroom, with a deep blue-green wall backing the bed. Artist and designer François Mascarello created the custom-made painted screen that sits next to the bed, its vibrancy contrasting with a pair of sculptural concrete nightstands.

Dries’ work here is a great example of how seemingly disparate objects, crossing decades and styles, can have a dialogue, not just within a single room but across an entire apartment. From hits of colour, to elegant Stark chairs, to the instantly recognisable Space Invader mosaics – icons of street art – that are dotted around, the way Dries links spaces together is intuitive, intelligent and very satisfying.