It has the appearance of a doll’s house or even a second home. Lost there, tossed around in the urban turmoil. But no, this is not the case at all! Located in the heart of Paris, the home of Florence Jallet – partner of Rebecca Benichou of the Batiik architecture studio – and her partner Arnaud Routaboul is a summer mirage. A delightful setting that invites us to whisks away from the city. It was essential – inevitable even – that these two children of the south should bring the sunny atmosphere of their formative years into this two-room apartment in the 10th arrondissement. Outside as well as inside! By rethinking this duplex with its green terrace “in its entirety, creating somewhere with a little charm, calm and light” (something we envy in these hot times), and it took four consecutive months of work to achieve. Far from the crowd and the noise, here the couple blends and balances pieces of modern and vintage furniture, lightening the small spaces with “pink tones and earthy materials”. The interior designer has appropriated these characteristics from the Batiik DNA and made tiny space an interior that totally suits them and reflects the fact that they are both “collectors at heart”. All the while facing major size limitations! 2.20 m high on the mezzanine and a floor area that requires these Parisian residents to exploit every square metre to the millimetre. In the bedroom as well as in the living room and dining room, the smallest saving of space is sought. The traffic flows have been optimised: the stairwell has been moved and the partitions have been taken awa,y. Turning your gaze outwards and becoming one with this carefully protected and precious patch of greenery. A sunny terrace where friends and family also come to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Florence Jallet : interior designer, associate artistic director of Paris-based Batiik Studio.
Arnaud Routaboul : art director in graphic design. Co-founder of the Rodéo creative studio. And then there’s Oscar, our four-year-old cat.
After a baccalaureate in art history and a course of higher education in design and architecture, I began my professional experience in scenography and, more particularly, in the world of luxury goods, where I had the opportunity to design sets for fashion shows. I have always been very creative in the way I approach life and especially the projects I work on. These first years allowed me to increase this creativity and the freedom I need to express myself tenfold. After three years in this field, I had the chance to move into interior design by joining Batiik Studio, the firm where I am the artistic director and partner today.
I’ve had a relatively traditional career in graphic design: a bachelor’s degree in graphic design and a master’s degree in art direction in graphic design. I started working in Amsterdam as a graphic designer in a digital design studio (Build In Amsterdam), and then I had the opportunity to join Immersive Garden as a digital art director for three years. I won several digital awards as part of my work experience (Awards Studio of the year, E-commerce of the year, Site of the year, and so on). More recently, I joined forces with three other ADs, photographers and friends I met in design school, and we founded Rodéo Studio.
I grew up in the south of France in a village near the town of Sète. I was lucky enough to grow up in an artistic environment, thanks to my mother, who paints and who also passed on a taste for travelling and discovering other cultures from a very early age. We’ve been visiting museums, sightseeing and attending dance performances together for as long as I can remember, a passion that we have shared for many years. I had the desire to be an interior designer very early on. My parents allowed me to have full freedom in how I undertook my career path. I’m pretty sure they’ll say I’m a determined and passionate person.
Like Florence, I grew up in different villages in the Montpellier area. I think my artistic education came about naturally over these years through my environment (vintage typographic displays, raw materials, nature, the cinema) as well as through my family and particularly my father. He introduced me to a wide range of different musical styles very early on.
We had to think very quickly because the apartment was in a terrible state, almost like a squat. We took everything apart and redid it.
That’s a difficult question to answer in a few words. My inspirations are very broad and evolve according to the projects I undertake. I’m particularly inspired by the achievements of architects and designers of the modern movement of the 1910s, but I also take inspiration from Venetian palaces where influences are mixed. And I’m quite fascinated by the spaces created by Carlo Scarpa and Richard Serra and by the emotion that emerges from the light and colour of Luis Barragán’s houses.
I try to get as much inspiration as possible from a variety of creative fields. I identify with the thinking and creative approach more than with the final design. But I would say that I owe my current inspirations to Josef Müller-Brockmann, Mouthwash Studio, StudioTusch and Les Graphiquants.
We were just beginning our search. This was our first purchase, and property in Paris seemed quite complex. It took a week and two visits for us to discover this little house. We were quite lucky, right in our favourite neighbourhood on the banks of the Canal Saint-Martin.
I immediately fell in love with it because we wanted a property to renovate and rethink in its entirety. Somewhere with a little charm, calm and light. Arnaud put his trust in me The exposed beams, the duplex layout, the individuality of the apartment and, of course, the exterior helped us decide very quickly.
We had to think very quickly because the apartment was in a terrible state, almost like a squat. We took everything apart and redid it. We wanted the living space to be as open as possible, whereas initially the ground floor was divided in two. I simplified the accessibility as much as possible by thinking about the flow of traffic in the spaces and by moving the staircase to a different place. A bathroom with a shower in the attic was also central to the project. Perhaps the most tedious of all, as we only have 2.20 m of ceiling height at the attic’s highest point. It took almost four months of work because we didn’t keep anything from the existing building.
Inspired by my own experience, I’ve cunningly converted every square metre lost in the attics into storage space, like our corner headboard, which is also a piece of furniture for storing things. We’re very lucky to have direct access to a terrace and a garden. This is why our interior design is organised around our windows and the garden view.
There is definitely a touch of Batiik Studio in this apartment. The pink tones and earthy materials are a direct echo of our projects. However, it was important for me not to make a Batiik Studio show apartment, but a more personal place. To avoid saturating my mind, I wanted to create a cosy cocoon here, so that I could let my creativity express itself fully on other projects.
We like natural, almost handcrafted materials. And, above all, we are collectors at heart. The common thread is the image we both have in common of the houses in the south and a desire to get away from the city by going home. A mixture of materials and modern or vintage furniture, sometimes rustic or, on the contrary, sophisticated. This fusion reflects us and makes sense with the style of the apartment. Our decoration evolves as we travel and discover new artists, like our latest acquisition above our bed, a painting by Marguerite Piard.
The common thread is the image we both have in common of the houses in the south and a desire to get away from the city by going home.
There are only two rooms, so the choice will be quick (laughs). Without hesitation, it’s the living room, which communicates with the terrace area. A little bit of Parisian indoors-outdoors, where we meet and entertain our family and friends.
In terms of decoration, we are often tempted by the selection from the concept store Madeleine & Gustave, and we love a beautiful bouquet from Flowered By Thierry Féret. Living on the banks of the Canal Saint-Martin is an opportunity for us to take regular walks in the neighbourhood, and we usually go for a coffee at the Residence Kann Coffee Shop (we often have it with a cookie or a brownie…). In the evening, we indulge ourselves at Les Enfants Perdus, rue des Récollets or, for more of a party atmosphere, there is also the Divine bar, one of Batiik Studio’s creations!
It’s a regular opportunity to discover inspiring interiors and people as well as new horizons.
Photography : Jeanne Perrotte – Text : Juliette Bruneau @thesocialitefamily