A masterful orchestration of architecture + art

Housed in a 18th century grand townhouse, in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, the meticulously renovated house showcases Charles Zana sense of balance and orderliness, as well as his keen eye for mixing and matching ostensibly clashing pieces. Unfolding over two floors, plus a basement level, the revamped interiors mix traditional and contemporary elements that both hint at the building’s history and convey an unmistakably modern sensibility. Coupled with a handpicked collection of decorative objects and modern artworks shrewdly displayed throughout the house, Zana’s masterful orchestration of architecture, art and design make for a distinctly characterful house.

As the hero of Visconti’s film The Leopard said, “if you want everything to stay as it is, everything has to change”, a lesson that Zana has taken to heart in his renovation of the centuries-old building, most notably by transforming the entrance vestibule into an Art Deco-inspired, organically-shaped marvel, reconfiguring the ground floor into a free-flowing series of spaces, and sculpting a curvaceous staircase to connect them with the private quarters upstairs.

Sparsely furnished, the living areas are nevertheless a paradigm of eclecticism bringing together 20th century classics such as Eero Saarinen’s Pedestal table, postmodern designers like 1970s Italian collective Studio Alchimia, and contemporary furnishings, including some designed by Zana such as the Alexandra sofa, a sinuous design sumptuously upholstered in green velvet, as well as vintage finds such as the salvaged graffitied bench in the living room, and the farmhouse dining table in the kitchen — the latter boldly paired with Michael Anastassiades’ fountain-like chandelier Fontana Amorosa which elegantly hangs from the kitchen’s white-painted panelled ceiling.

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