It was undoubtedly inevitable that Joseph Dirand launched into architecture and that his brother Adrien turned to photography. The couple was the son of Jacques Dirand, one of the greatest photographers in the world of decoration. Throughout their childhood in Paris, they hovered over the light box, magnifying glass in their eyes, and gazed at the hypnotic places their father had captured on 35mm slides. “Venetian palaces, Palladian villas, artists’ houses, master studios, cabinets of curiosities, boudoirs of princesses, Tuscan castles, Napoleonic apartments, fishermen’s huts,” wrote Adrien, who took the photos of this story. Joseph Dirand: Interior, published by Rizzoli several years ago. “We would relive those journeys with few words, passion and a hint of mischief. It’s also a good way to describe Dirand’s work. He sees his approach as “ornamental minimalism”, he explained on a winter Friday evening in his new house on the Right Bank. “I create a space with a balance and a classic basis. Still, “there are details and compositions,” he continued, such as mixing marble powder in cement to give it a silky shimmering appearance, or painting mirrored closet doors with paints. misty, Turner-esque murals or scorching silver-plated kitchen cabinets to evoke the smoky allure of a Belle Époque brothel. It would be wrong.
Dirand, his wife, Anso, event planner, and their two daughters (each of their previous marriages) lived on the Left Bank for six years. But with a baby on the way, they had to change sizes. They searched without much luck – even in Paris, “a noble building is difficult to find,” he noted. Then their owner mentions an apartment available in a building built on the hill of Passy as a hotel for the Universal Exhibition of 1900.
As soon as Dirand laid eyes on the 2,600 square foot space, with his postcard view of Paris, he knew he had found what he was looking for and how he would make it his own. “I’ve spent my career creating sets for others, but rarely get the chance to do it for myself,” he said. “So I was very specific about what I wanted. Design for me must always fulfill its function: a well-designed space offering a certain quality of life.
Clearly, stone is Dirand’s material of choice. The walls, the flat surfaces, the tubs are all in stone or marble in soft tones, often hewn from massive blocks that he bought years ago and stored, “waiting for the right time”. As with all of his commissions, which currently include a hotel complex on Norman’s Cay in the Bahamas and interiors for the new Rosewood Hotel on Grosvenor Square in London, as well as design favorites like Loulou and Monsieur Bleu in Paris (where he has met Anso, former manager there), The Surf Club in Miami, and Le Jardinier and Shun in New York, he called on his favorite artisans, who know how to execute his “taste for detail”, as he puts it.
Like the three majestic limestone archways of Massangis on the left side of the entrance hall, which give way to the vast living / dining room. Arches for Dirand “are more of a vocabulary for a house than an apartment,” he said. Here they create the air of a “mini-palazzo”, with edges rounded by hand by masons “to capture the light and create a continuous line, like a continuous ribbon”.
In the kitchen, his teenage daughter Ninon was doing her homework on a vanilla-colored island carved from a piece of breccia stazzema marble that he had bought directly from the quarry and kept for five years. “I love the thick width of the base and the way the veins run down it,” he said. “You see the mass.” The WC is walled up with breccia verde marble that he picked up in Italy. “This material is like a landscape,” he said, examining it. The main bathroom is clad in paonazzo marble “from the mountains above Carrara”. He even uses mineral materials for key furniture, like the white travertine dining table and estremoz coffee table.
Guided tour of Joseph Dirand’s Parisian apartment
Through a neoclassical limestone pedimented door at the end of the entrance hall – “very 17th-century Italian,” he stressed – are the family’s private quarters. In the narrow hallway lurks an elegant bronze and gold lioness with auric eyes, a sculpture by Harumi Klossowska de Rola, Balthus’ daughter. Throughout the house, creatures abound – an adorable Lalanne lamb, a vintage beetle table by French ceramicist Georges Jouve, a taxidermist owl from the Parisian natural science store Deyrolle. No more mischief.
The overall palette is made up of “natural hues,” Dirand said, pointing to the tobacco-colored Versailles parquet, walls and furniture in off-white, pale green and the lightest gray – a neutral canvas designed to showcase its expansive feel. modern and abstract art. , and the Arte Povera art collection. He walked over to the living room library and opened a hidden compartment: a turntable. “My wife DJs,” he laughed. She also cooks for their frequent dinners. On the menu that evening: watercress soup, osso buco and Milanese risotto, for 12. “I work in fantasy and I build a living environment,” he says. “And she brings it to life.”
Originally appeared on Architectural summary