When French architect Benoit Dupuis arrived in Paris from his native Normandy at age 17, he experienced what he calls a “double shock”, discovering the beauty of the city and the people who lived there. Describing his first visit to the City of Light, Benoit recounts: “I remember seeing Notre-Dame on that stormy day, and I said to myself:This is a place to live. Decades later, he’s still in Paris and now resides in the trendy ninth arrondissement, sandwiched between Pigalle to the north and Place Saint Georges to the south.
Benoit’s apartment, located on the second floor of a late 19th century building, was already well known to the architect: he had renovated it six years ago for the venerable shoemaker Christian Louboutin and his partner Bruno Chamberlain. They considered opening their first store there but decided to leave the space, and when they did, they gifted it to Benoit. The architect now shares the apartment with his life and work partner, Luis Placido de Abreu. “The volumes were there and I just accompanied what existed,” said Benoit, taking over the apartment. “I redesigned the palette.
The intention has always been to keep the kitchen and bathroom as they were and to respect the original moldings and wood floors. “I found the oak floors so beautiful, they are old and not too varnished,” he recalls. One of the apartment’s most striking features are the unusual shutters he designed, which open like an accordion. “They add a brighter light feel and are nuanced,” says Benoit, referring to the two tones of white paint he used to give the panels an extra dimension. (Fun fact: The first time he designed interior shutters was for Keith Richards, a client early in his career.)
Benoit is also responsible for all of the built-in furniture throughout the apartment, and this was the first time he had designed rooms for himself. “I am clearly inspired by Le Corbusier, and as you can see, I love Alvar Aalto. I like the minimal spirit, and they are both architects and designers, like me, ”he notes.
When he is not at home, Benoit works on the Louboutin castle and a collaboration with one of his very close friends, an interior designer Cathy Vedovi. They formed a company called Dupuis Vedovi and opened their first office in Venice. Why Venice? “A lot of people are passing by and we are in a palace on the Grand Canal,” he explains. “We will show interesting proposals with art and it will be a place of exhibition, meeting and work.” Back in Paris, the architect will embark on a much more modest project, adding a small terrace to his apartment, just a small outdoor space for two.
Do it yourself
Carve out a space to eat in the kitchen, regardless of its size In an effort to make the best use of the original small kitchen footprint, Benoit paired a small game table with 1940s stools to create space for a quick breakfast or a cup of tea.
Paint a headboard directly on the wall In the bedroom, Benoit eschewed a traditional headboard for a rectangle painted in a neutral tone. While the effect is subtle against white walls, it helps orient the sconces that flank the bed.
Mix heirlooms with modern pieces A pair of 19th century Chinese vases by Luis’s grandmother and 19th century elephant candle holders in gilded bronze and lapis lazuli by the interior designer Jean-Paul Beaujard are located against a collection of modern art and design in the office.
Pay homage to a designer or architect you admire A nod to the Finnish architect and designer Alvar Aalto, Benoit stacked a set of his 611 chairs like a sculpture in the office.
Wool rug by André Arbus for La Manufacture Cogolin, manufacturecogolin.com
Concorde armchair from the 1960s by Pierre Paulin for Artifort, $ 1,640, pamono.com
Mod 265 wall light by Paolo Rizzatto for FLOS, $ 1,495, ylighting.com
Vintage Chinese white pottery vase, $ 295, 1stdibs.com
Originally appeared on Architectural summary