This apartment near the Luxembourg Gardens gave Romain Lazurowicz, co-founder of the global design studio L’Appartement Parisien, the opportunity to express his desire for a unique mix. A philosophy of ‘and’ not ‘or’. A real collaborative effort, both with his architect friend Isabelle Juy, who was behind the renovation of these unconventional spaces, and with his wife, Aurélie, who has been working with him for years. He says she has “very good taste”, and it clearly complements his, as this Parisian by adoption confides that he “constantly needs” her to reinforce his artistic choices. With no need to choose between “simplicity and exuberance”, the couple live with their two children, May and Joseph, in this generously open living space where “everything revolves around the kitchen and the light from the glass roof”. And this symbiosis between their respective energies is illustrated in the use of soft and natural materials “essential for a family home in Paris” as well as in the touches of colour that punctuate the living spaces. Whether that is in the “very slightly bluish and therefore very fresh grey” on the wall – a nod to Florence Elkouby, a lifelong friend and collaborator – or the small decorative touches that complete this modern and definitely Parisian canvas.
My name is Romain, I’m married to Aurélie, and we are the proud parents of May and Joseph. We are both originally from the Vienne and have been Parisians by adoption for 22 years now.
I’m a designer, and in 2005, with my two friends and associates, I established l’Appartement Parisien, a global design studio that has worked with many luxury and cosmetic brands over the past 15 years, helping them to tell new graphic, conceptual, packaging and design stories. I like to think of myself as a designer of “objects of beauty”. We create perfume bottles for major Parisian labels, candles and other home fragrances, and accessories like “La Bonne Brosse”. We created the design for that as well as the entire graphic identity and all the packaging. We are also behind the total redesign of the beautiful and historic Portuguese soap brand Claus Porto, from branding to the art of wrapping, to volume creation, candles, soap dishes, home fragrance and the iconic perfume bottle. We are passionate about our work, and it allows us to style places, brands and products with a touch of poetry, mix & match and colour.
I’m a web project manager. I worked for some wonderful fashion brands before I started my own business!
We complement each other very well. I’m bubbling over with different ideas, whereas Aurélie is much calmer, more minimalist and restrained. She has very good taste, and I constantly need her sharp eye to support my artistic choices. Clearly, our apartment is a mix of these two energies. I don’t like having to choose between simplicity and exuberance; it’s the mix that interests me. The “and” not the “or”.
I grew up in the countryside in a house with a garden that my family extended as life went on. A haven of peace and quiet! My parents knew Paris well. My mother, who was very aware of beauty and design, would sometimes take me there to see an exhibition. For me, it was an opportunity to open up to art, music and fashion! It quickly became a dream and a goal to study design in the city. My father ran a street furniture factory, and I was also immersed in the industrial manufacturing aspect of design. We spent our summers on the Côte d’Azur visiting one of my aunts who worked in a perfume factory. She regularly gave my mother whole boxes of miniature perfumes. We started a collection; I spent hours drawing them…
We fell in love with the entrance under the large zenithal glass roof. Nothing was conventional. There were stairs everywhere, everything had to be redone (...)
What about designers and artists? Whose work has had an influence on you and your work?
At school I discovered Arman, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, and Andy Warhol and his Factory. I love the Velvet Underground, Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe. In design terms, Gio Ponti and Ettore Sottsass for the genius of colour and mix, Tadao Ando for minimalism and poetry, and Charlotte Perriand for both the craft aspect and her ability to tell the story of her travels through a universal design. I love photography too. We like being surrounded by a gallery of inspiring portraits at home. These days I appreciate the free and unique work of Jacquemus, Raf Simons, Rick Owens, Jonathan W. Anderson, Charlotte Chesnais, Muller van Severen, Sabine Marcelis, Floris Wubben and Gustaf Westman.
Tell us how you came across this apartment.
We’ve lived in the 6th arrondissement near the Luxembourg Gardens since the children were born. It’s a very family-friendly neighbourhood! They have their schools and friends here. We were looking for a larger classical apartment, and fell in love with the entrance beneath the huge skylight. There was nothing conventional about it. There were stairs everywhere, and everything needed to be redone. It’s what we were looking for, like a small house in Paris.
How did you plan it?
It was the perfect opportunity to work with my architect friend Isabelle Juy; it was my dream to work with her! I showed her my plans and ideas, and then we spent an incredible few months putting it all together. I like its timelessness, and I needed its very precise look to create a simple, modern and Parisian blank canvas, so I could play with the furniture, colours and materials. I designed the kitchen worktop as a statement piece, with this ivory arabescato marble. It took us a long time to find it. We wanted an ultra-light staircase, and we simply bent sheet steel. It is a very pleasant and ultra-open living space that suits our family life, and everything revolves around the kitchen and the light from the glass roof. Thanks to Isabelle, we have managed to fit in four separate bedrooms, including our master bedroom with its green terrazzo bathroom, which I love! The children’s area has been designed as a separate little house with rounded doors. An apartment within an apartment.
And the furniture?
The furniture is a mix of vintage pieces from our old apartment with more contemporary items. Lots of soft and natural materials, curly wool, travertine, lots of softness. That seemed to us to be essential for a family home in Paris.
The entire space is painted in a very light blue. Why did you choose this shade?
It’s a shade I owe to my friend and associate Florence Elkouby! It’s Inox, from Little Greene. It’s a very slightly bluish grey and so it’s very fresh. Aurélie hates sad “pollution” grey walls (Laughs). It is a particular colour that has become the signature of the Parisian apartment and creates a very pleasant cocoon atmosphere that one never tires of.
I don’t like coloured walls or rooms; I prefer to use touches of colour in the decoration. But it’s very important to us! We started with the Knoll Smalto oval table in that milky green-grey that I love to combine with very pop-creamy and comforting colours! It’s a very agency-specific range that we like to work with.
I think our home reflects us well. You’ll find our inspirations and favourites everywhere. It’s a canvas on which we can express all our wishes, a family retreat and a breath of fresh air every time we come home. We wanted an apartment that was cheerful, not pretentious, and open to being with family and friends as much as possible!
In the Luxembourg Gardens and in the streets of Saint Germain des Près! On the Ile de Ré with our family where we’ve finally found ourselves a cabin… A new playground. At L’Appartement Parisien near the Tuileries Gardens with my team inventing new beauty stories. And I’m also working on a personal project with aluminium furniture… The first piece is the low shelf in our dining room that holds the David Hockney Bigger Book that Aurelie gave me when we moved in and which I really like.
Photography: Jeanne Perrotte – Text: Caroline Balvay @thesocialitefamily