When the architect and interior designer Aline Asmar from Amman first laid eyes on what is now her Parisian home ten years ago, she knew immediately. “It took me five minutes to decide that this would be our address in Paris,” she explains of the Haussmann apartment located in the 16th arrondissement, a few steps away. from the Trocadéro and the Eiffel Tower on the other side of the Seine. “I fell in love with the extraordinary of the building 19th century carved stone facade, the colossal wooden door opening onto the ground floor courtyard and the spectacular staircase leading with a noble whirlwind to the private houses.
Previously, the Tunisian consulate rented the space for receptions, and its rooms were awash with color and gilding with orientalist accents. But the original Lebanese of Amman, founder of the company Culture in architecture, had a very different vision, one of white walls and accents of smoky, silver and pale sepia tones. “It was important to pay tribute in Paris, with its muted colors,” she says. “In this city, everything is on the textures and the gray sky, which became my theme.
First from Amman reconfigured the layout to reinforce the meaning flow and create larger spaces suitable for family life with it husband and teenage son. In addition to expanding the entrance, living room and kitchen, which have doubled in size, she combined two bedrooms to make the master suite. All its changes respect the historical bones and spirit of the residence, while time to update rooms with contemporary sophistication.
Indeed, d’Amman has forged a reputation as an architect of evocative interiors that skillfully link past and present. Just look at his reimagining of two Parisian landmarks – the Hôtel de Crillon and the Eiffel Tower restaurant Le Jules Verne, as well as its latest commission, the new Orient Express hotel, which occupies a 15th century Venetian palace which will reopen in 2024 after a restoration of several years. As with these large-scale projects, the Parisian house in Amman reflects its flair for spaces that are theatrical, seductive and poignant.
Since the family moved in, from Amman has continued to add new layers of design, art and artifacts, turning every inch into a personal portrait that, as she puts it, “speaks the language of emotional connections rather than rational compositions”. A of the first pieces to arrive was Zaha Hadid’s glossy black, fluid Aqua sculptural table for the entry hall. “My husband was quite shocked, because the apartment was a completely blank canvas at the time,” she recalls. “He said, ‘What is this?’ And I said, ‘I have to live with this as much as I have to live with you.’ ”
The couple’s collections are highlighted by female talents such as Alicja Kwade, Claire Adelfang and Marie Khouri, with many works balancing a kind of raw material with a refined and lyrical expression. It’s a sultry dance that Amman loves, and the resulting effect is glamorous yet fierce beauty.
In the living room, a barbed wire sculpture by Abdul Rahman Katanani erupts from the wall in a whirlwind of suspended energy. The architect commissioned the piece during the COVID shutdowns, almost ten years after first seeing the artist’s work at an art fair. “It looks like a haute couture dress, because it’s woven in an incredible way,” she observes. Ahead of him lies another pandemic era acquisition: a pink and gold ceramic chair with flowers by Katie Stout. “I love the way Katie plays on destroyed femininity and that the room has a very irrational aesthetic,” says d’Amman. “It’s a combination of Salvador Dalí and Niki de Saint Phalle.
This kind of irreverent mix of art and objects runs through the house, creating unexpected dialogues at every turn. “I rely on intuition and instinct as a guide to just embracing the things I love and living together,” says of Amman.
“I believe that home is not only your sanctuary but also your own theater”
Aline Asmar from Amman
In the library, which doubles as an intimate party room, she clad the walls in charcoal panelling, a modern riff on classic French boiserie, and installed dark slate and marble cabinets, one containing a concealed bar. She placed a swivel chair covered in velvet, also of her own design and one of the new pieces in her offering with the Invisible Collection– opposite a contrasting cast bronze armchair by Voukenas Petrides. Adding to the eclectic mix are a mantel clock made for the 1925 International Exhibition of Decorative Arts; and family heirlooms, including her husband’s family tree from the 1300s and her great-aunt’s Art Deco chandelier. The Jean Nouvel desk, meanwhile, “brings unexpected elegance into an ornate space,” Amman notes.
In stark contrast to the library’s deep palette is the master bedroom, a study in pale neutrals and Amman dressing room, which is anchored by another of his creations from the Invisible collection: a trio of Georgia lounge chairs (inspired by the art of Georgia O’Keeffe), their sensual shapes covered with blush colored mohair. The area also functions as the home of Amman office, also serving as a place for her to write letters and compose her impeccable outfits, which of course requires a mirrored ceiling.
“Mirrors on the walls and on the ceiling and above the mirrors –I love the sexy side of a fractal image,” says from Amman, who has used reflective surfaces for a shimmering and seductive effect everywhere. “I believe that home is not only your sanctuary but also yours. theatre”-whether it be a theater to accommodate 100 guests for cocktails or an intimate seated dinner around its Calacatta Oro marble dinner table. In particular, this table is surmounted by a three-level top centerpiece of the Sotheby’s sale of works belonging to Karl Lagerfeld, with whom from Amman collaborated on two suites at the Crillon and a collection of furniture for Gallery of the carpenters’ workshop. “In each room, there is a sense of celebration and a bit of theatricality, because that’s who I am,” she says. “I love the wow effect.”
A version of this article first appeared in our Fall 2022 issue under the title “Tone Poem”. Subscribe to the magazine.