Paloma just woke up from a nap when we arrived to Aliénor Béchu’s and her husband Pierre-Louis’s flat. At the last floor of a...
Less than 2 years ago, I introduced you to Anatole Maggiar, barely 23 and already head of his own company. His MAD Agency, a collective of budding artists, is now a breeding ground for influential artists who are already making their mark and graduates of major art schools. With SIRA, his studio and home, a 21st-century Factory, he has developed a place where artists in residence can express their talent. Located at the entrance to Paris, SIRA
is no longer a hideout for initiates, but a full-fledged, recognized collective with itinerant exhibitions. It is a laboratory where visual artists, photographers and sculptors meet to create their works Anatole, a highly vivid personality, welcomed me for an exclusive visit to his magical, dramatic lair. Here are a few exclusive pictures if you did not see them the first time.
Anatole, what is your best time of day?
Bath time! I have a cast-iron 1880 claw-footed hip bath and I love to soak in a hot bath while listening to Sade’s “Diamond Life”. It’s my safety valve and certainly where I get my best ideas.
How long have you lived here?
Since 15 December 2010. I spent my first night cocooned in a black burnouse, lying on my chesterfield – which was all the furniture I had – in the living room of the empty apartment, which really did look like a 1990s office.
In which room do you spend the most time?
It’s quite evenly balanced. I am often in my office or my studio, but I spent a lot of time in SIRA’s corridors or in the artist’s studios.
What is your take on life?
“Nothing venture, nothing gain!” That one came from my mother and it has served me well.
Who is your favourite artist or designer?
It’s too hard to choose. I have a pantheon of artists which includes Delacroix, Dali, Duchamp, Manet, Magritte and Warhol. I love “art pompier” (academic art), Neo Rauch, Henri Rousseau, but the most beautiful art I have seen so far is the Veroneses in the Doge’s Palace in Venice. Of course I am extremely alive to music, from Serge Gainsbourg to the Psychedelic rock of the early 1970s, plus oriental music and French pop rarities.
Where do you go to get furniture?
Here and there. I never look for a piece; I just find it. I am an obsessive antique buff so I always keep my eyes open when I move around. I go antique hunting in Morocco, to the souks of Taroudant and Lubéron in the summer, I attend garage sales in Carpetras, Perne-les-Fontaines or Villeneuve-les-Avignons. I am often at the Saint Ouen flea market because it is just near SIRA.
What designer pieces do you dream of owning today?
Frits Henningsen’s 1930s rectangular 3-seat sofa. Right now, I’m looking to buy an Arco lamp and I would love to have the Visiona II suite by Verner Panton. It’s hideously expensive but maybe one day I will be able to buy Perriand, Matégot or Prouvé!
What style or period do you like for decorating your apartment? How did you decorate it?
The apartment is in what used to be the SIRA offices, constructed in the 1970s. Its bones are fairly modernist and geometrical and what I’ve done is alternate between a 1930s-1970s style and an Empire style with oriental accents. There was nothing to start with and I consider my apartment like a campaign tent in the Napoleonic era in that I have done almost nothing with the space. I’ve just filled it with my finds. I’m fairly nomadic about my
objets d’art and I often travel with them. Aside from the style, I took a very functional approach to creating this apartment to make the best of the available space. It is, in a way, the external disc drive where I save my objets d’art and sometimes my thoughts and ideas, so I wanted something clear and organised. I have the living area at the front, so the living room, bedroom and office can catch as much sunlight as possible through the floor-to-ceiling bay windows. These three rooms open off an L-shaped corridor which leads to a very cosy, intimate bathroom.
What is your motto?
“There’s no such word as ‘cant’”
Could you recommend a restaurant you recently ate at in Paris or elsewhere?
Chez Carette in Place du Trocadéro. I go there often for a bite, or to Livio’s in Neuilly for a Buratta or zucchini-fritti. I loved visiting Hôtel Griffou when I lived in New York.