In the realm of visual marketing for the luxury fashion industry, studying the sales space and thinking of all the strategies that will contribute to the presentation of a product (and therefore to its success) is an irreplaceable experience for a designer.
That’s certainly been the case for Parisian architect Laure Ardouin-Marie, who has worked for prestigious brands including Louis Vuitton, Emilio Pucci, Fendi, Rochas and Gucci. “Although we usually deal with ephemeral things, it’s important to implement projects quickly, sometimes working with tight budgets to find solutions with a dramatic look,” she says. “It’s a good place to experiment with materials and to study lighting.”
Laure, who specialises in interior design, studied at the prestigious Central Saint Martins in London and École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris before launching her career in 2001. After a decade and a half in the visual merchandising industry, she ultimately decided to open her own design studio, Stiletta, in 2016, which primarily focuses on private clients. Her first project was actually for her own abode, when she transformed an early-20th-century Parisian apartment into the contemporary home she shares with her family, including husband Thomas and daughters Jeanne and Louise.
The layout of the apartment has been radically changed compared to the original, which included a corridor with rooms placed on both its sides. Knocking down some walls and exchanging the locations of the day and night zones created a large living room, which looks out to a small outdoor garden, as well as a study and the dining area. The kitchen, placed beyond an iron and glass frame window, is included in the living room without compromising the innate elegance.
Among the risky design choices was the one that had the master bedroom overlooking the living room. However, the result is certainly appealing due to the abundance of natural light, which streams into the living room from both sides of the house from morning to late afternoon.
The presence of numerous materials immediately strikes you: the wood of the floor and furnishings; the upholstery with geometric patterns in the living room and the figurative decorations at the entrance; the brass of important accessories; the dark iron of the kitchen door; the leather used to cover part of the chairs; and the high-impact colour on the walls. It’s a wealth of elements in a relatively small space. However, what could result in a clash elsewhere, gives the impression of harmony in this home.
Laure’s method of work is influenced by the school of art deco, particularly in the subtlety and contrast of qualities. It focuses more on shades than on oppositions, on a mix of polished and opaque surfaces, on graphic presence, and on attenuation rather than emphasis. Perhaps as a consequence of her professional experience, she prefers not to hang anything on the walls, opting to use display cases to showcase objects and accessories, but the choice of coloured walls never leaves the space lacking in visual interest.
Furniture items become the stars of the scene, starting with the central couch, placed obliquely so as to break up the geometry of the room. No model was more appropriate than the My Beautiful Backside sofa, produced by Moroso and designed by Doshi Levien, thanks to its soft and irregular shapes. Balancing its unique presence in the room are a considered mix of classics (such as an Isamu Noguchi coffee table) and contemporary pieces (Samuel Accoceberry’s Nymphé brass mirror).
In addition to the interiors and the artistic direction, Laure has produced a collection of geometric fabric pillows via her Stiletta brand. Softly placed on the couch or on the bed, they add an elegantly feminine touch, fully reflecting the personality of their creator.
Photography: Fabrizio Cicconi/Living Inside