Located in the heart of the City of Light is a just-over-2,000-square-foot Parisian apartment that’s flooded with natural light. Once the home and office of a psychoanalyst, the space, with its quintessential Parisian street views, had not been touched since 1965.
At the time, its previous occupant took a unique approach to its decor: “[He] painted the entire apartment with one of his patients, a theater decorator,” designer and current owner Franck Genser explains. “Each room was a different color. For example, the entrance was a copper tone, with vertical stripes he made with his nails. It was actually quite violent, but I liked the energy in the apartment,” he adds. “I saw the potential.”
Purchasing and redesigning the home for himself proved to be a huge undertaking for Genser. Beginning with an engineering career, he set up his own design firm until 2016. And yet he resists the job title of his current profession: “I wear many hats,” he muses. “What I do is to find a form and give a form to things.” Development, materiality, and comfort are all key to his practice and are evident in this abode, which he shares with his 15-year-old son and his partner. His older daughter, an art student, contributed to a component of the first floor entry area. She suggested the myth of Narcissus, fittingly communicated through the use of mirrored elements, as inspiration for the space. The grès marquetry flooring is by her as well.
Genser opened up all the spaces inside the apartment to allow for an easy and airy flow from one room to the next. There are two bedrooms and two baths, three salons, a large kitchen, and a room that serves as a reception and showroom area.
After a year of reflection and planning, the project itself took about nine months. Genser emphasizes: “The thinking took the longest time.” Boiseries were removed but all the original parquet floors were kept. The striking mirrored and ceramic marquetry entrance, which is the shape of a semicircle, forms a virtually complete circle once the sliding doors are closed. Genser’s inspiration for this ingenuity was a circular office created by 20th-century designer and architect Pierre Chareau. “I love the idea of movement and not being fixed,” Genser explains.
The apartment is located not far from a handful of design and art galleries. “What I try to do is to make a link with the environment so we feel good,” Genser reflects of his own efforts. When asked what design is for, he doesn’t hesitate to say, “To change what’s going on.” Step inside his Parisian apartment, a universe of thoughts and ideas, and see for yourself. Perhaps in the end, function really follows form.