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Nomadic space

A young Italian family with a nomadic spirit chooses as its pied-à-terre a flat in the heart of Paris, between the grey-blue galvanised roofs and the banks of the Seine. Studio noa* was asked to design the interiors and help recreate the feeling of being at home. An exciting task that led the designers to immerse themselves in sensations, images and memories in order to create a work tailored to the client’s needs. Among the many facets with which Paris has established itself in the collective imagination, one cannot overlook the noble hôtel particulier, elegant family palaces dating back to the 18th century that stand proudly alone in the urban fabric. One of these buildings, the hôtel Nicolai, was the reason for noa*’s first visit to the Ville Lumière. The brief was to renovate a flat occupying part of the second floor and the attic into the new home of a young family. The interior designers began with a phase of research and intense dialogue with the client to ensure that the flat told their story in the best possible way. The result was the delineation of a “nomadic spirit” of the owners and the reference during the first interviews to an object that, for those who call themselves citizens of the world, has a strong symbolic meaning: the logarithmic spiral shell of the Nautilus.

The Nautilus is one of the rare creatures to have survived from the Cretaceous period and is now defined as a living fossil. The shell, which symbolises domestic comfort, together with Parisian inspirations have led to a design with a refined and timeless character. The curved line becomes the stylistic signature of the flat: this undulating movement is also present in the spatial distribution, as the different functions of living naturally follow one another. In choosing the furnishings and designing the oak furniture, noa* wanted to convey the elegance of the Marais district, where the property is located, in the flat. The colour of the blue-grey marble, the fabrics of the cushions and upholstery, the choice of materials and colours for the floors, ceilings and walls are all inspired by the roofs of Paris. The ground floor has a service entrance and a guest entrance. From both perspectives, the chromatic and material division of the flooring stands out: the living area is in bleached oak parquet in a French herringbone pattern, while the circulation corridor is in terrazzo. This walkway seems to divide the floor into two islands: on one side, a niche overlooking the Seine, where you can read or chat, furnished with oak seats and black leather cushions.

On the other side, the kitchen and living room area, where the gaze rests on the elegant grey-blue “Bardiglio Imperiale” marble used for the fireplace surround and the kitchen top. The Chester sofa and a cosy dining area with bench complete the furnishings. The focal point of the project was the connection between the lower and upper floors: a sinuous, organically shaped staircase visually extends the corridor into the terrace. The service area follows the course of the staircase and is enclosed by a curved wall. Also on the lower floor are two bedrooms and a bathroom. The master bedroom is furnished with a freestanding bathtub, carved from a single block of “Botticino Fiorito” marble. The washbasins and shower surfaces are made of the same material. The upper floor houses a multifunctional room equipped for home cinema and a guest room with bathroom. The result is a project with a serene, calm and welcoming atmosphere, a flat with curved lines and the scent of wood, where one immediately feels at home between trips. 

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Project: Nicolai Paris
Architect: noa*
Year: 2021