Where tension exists, uniquely creative results come, and this beautiful French apartment by the equally beautiful French team, of Studio KO, is a case in point.
Studio KO was established in 1999 one year before founding partners Karl Fournier and Olivier Marty both finished their architectural degrees from the Paris School of Fine Arts where they met. Their first project was in Morocco a country that has sentimental value to the duo as it was the destination of their first trip abroad together. Their first big break was a project they fulfilled for a member of the Hermes family. Since then, they notoriously never stay put in any country for too long, as their projects are as far flung as LA, Corsica, NY, Morocco and London (where they designed an Aesop store). Currently, they are designing the Yves Saint Laurent museum in Morocco.
“We’re constantly torn between our desire for extremely pared down, pure things, and a more decorative, busy aesthetic…And it’s not a case of Oliver doing one thing and me doing the other. It’s something that exists in both of us.” It is with this particular Parisian apartment, that one can see how this successful design duo (and life partners to boot) resolve the tension of their minimalist disciplines with a more decorative leaning for an eccentric client.
For the 1800 square foot, 19th Century, two-bedroom apartment of a financier and fashion designer, Studio KO introduced colour into their normally restrictive palettes, to allow vibrancy and eclecticism enter their edited and serene planning. In the living room, a circular blue velvet sofa (designed by Studio KO) sits atop a boldly geometric carpet. The gold gilded fireplace is contrasted with its marble baseboard aside of which two brutalist sconces are placed. What’s most magnificent about the living room is the wall treatment. The duo enlisted a decorative painter to preserve the original ‘ghost’ images within the panelling. He did this by adding layers of papier mache to the walls before artfully distressing them. Also featured in this stunning room are mid-century barrel chairs by Brazilian modernist Jorge Zalszupin.
The rest of the apartment follows on from the thread of modern, beautiful and slightly crazy flair that was inspired by the clients. The master bedroom features the apartment’s original stained glass windows that cast a grid-like pattern over the room as the sun sets. A Tibetan lambswool chair by Czech designer Jindrich Halabala carries a dialogue over to the bed where similar lambswool scatter cushions sit on the bed. The carpet in the bedroom is a Studio KO design featuring geometric patterns and more royal blues. A black and white harlequinesque, Studio KO headboard conceals a 1960’s commode behind the bed.
The walls of the guest room is painted in a Marjorelle blue and features artwork by way of a photograph of Zimbabwean artist Kudzanai Chiurai. The guest bathroom can be accessed via a hallway that is ombre-painted. The bathroom itself features vibrant red walls, and shelves are lined with tangerine velvet. The rarely used kitchen was modeled by an airplane gallery, whilst the dining room features a stunning table by Carlo Scarpa. Across the entire apartment, colour is used with bold vivacity in finishes that are subtly luxurious.
Of the project, Marty states: “This took us further in some ways than we had gone… for years we stayed away from colour, but as we go on, there is more and more confidence, and now we’re letting it back into our work.
All I can say is more colour please, Studio KO. This apartment is brilliant.