She is an interior designer and co-founder of Studio Servadio. He is the singer in the extremely stylish group Feu! Chatterton, nominated three times at the Victoires de la Musique, which will take place this Friday, 11 February. Together, Mégane Servadio and Arthur Teboul live in a small, light-filled apartment looking out over the trees in the Père Lachaise cemetery. For Arthur, a Parisian, this is a return to his roots in the district where he grew up, and it is a first renovation project for Mégane, who grew up with Loris, her brother and partner, in Montmartre. In this white box with 1950s lines which the HMONP architect has softened, the duo had fun designing everything with the aim of “not just making something beautiful (…) but rather thinking about making something right and true, because that’s when the magic of beauty can happen”. In this case, a world that reveals a certain affinity with the theatre, where each piece, each colour is layered on top of a previous one. A system of decorative overlays that the former head designer – who worked on film, video and theatre sets – mixes with objects whose original use she subverts, embracing humour and fantasy, as evidenced by “the bathroom rubbish bin, which is actually a silver champagne bucket from the 1970s (which makes her laugh), and the jewellery box, which is a silver butter dish in the shape of a shell.” Letting them surprise us, so we can enjoy them again, in the same way as “Christian Bérard’s trompe-l’oeil”. These references show how, according to this admirer of the architect-decorator Roberto Baciocchi, an interior must above all be a vector of emotion. No matter what the inspirations are, even if those that one instantly feels for the couple are those intimately linked to their love of the baroque, to “the emphasis, the triumph, the theatricality of the staging, the sensuality and exuberance of it all!”. An encounter with the inventors of worlds, whether visual or textual.
Mégane, Arthur: please tell us about the history of your neighbourhood and how you came to choose this apartment?
Above all, we wanted to live in a bright apartment. The trees in the Père Lachaise cemetery, visible from the living room and the kitchen, are the first thing we see in the morning.
t’s a location worthy of royalty! Please note that the Philippe Auguste Metro station is the only one in Paris to be named after a French king (laughs).
Tell us about your upbringing. Where did you grow up – and how did that influence the way your tastes have developed?
I grew up in Montmartre with Loris, my brother and now my partner, in an apartment carefully decorated by our parents. As a child, I remember thinking that certain pieces of furniture didn’t go together, and certain colours didn’t match. Today, though, that’s what I like, and it’s what excites me about my work: being on the edge between good and bad taste. In any case, I believe beauty flirts with dissonance. Arthur grew up in the 20th arrondissement, where we live today. He spent some time wandering about from place to place, and he’s finally come back.
How would you define yourself at work?
I’m a decorator-designer. My job is about composition and assembly, which allows me to invent worlds. It’s fantastic to bring an interior to life by creating atmospheres and visual worlds through shapes and materials. What I like, creatively speaking, is that it’s not just about making something beautiful. I think it’s more about doing something right and genuine. This is when the magic of beauty can happen! On a technical level, I like to design the decor with and for my clients. Their history and personality are our raw materials. They’re a different source of inspiration on each site. Also, it’s a job where you can design everything: from the stone path in the garden to a little spoon in an alabaster cup. And if it’s imaginable, it’s feasible!
I’m a singer in a musical group, which I founded 10 years ago. We sometimes work together, and we actually came together on the set of one of my videos for which Mégane was creating the decor (have a look at L’Oiseau – Feu!Chatterton)!
You and Arthur live in this apartment together. How did you decide on the decoration, working hand-in-hand with your brother?
When Loris and I started Servadio, our architecture and interior design studio, we liked the idea that our first project would be my apartment. We thought of it as a neutral, white, uncluttered space that would give us the freedom to add colour, room by room, month by month, layer by layer. Time is of the essence when investing in and living in an interior. I wanted a neutral, simple and well-made space. After that, warm shades of orange-red, turquoise blue, British racing green and jet black came together.
Structurally, the forms are relatively restrained. We rounded off some of the openings to soften the sometimes harsh lines 1950s apartments have.
You work with your brother these days. How do you allocate roles?
We work together on each of our interior design projects. All decisions are taken jointly. Although we initially do our research work hand in hand (shapes, colours, etc.), Loris – an HMONP architect – is more involved in the architecture phase, on the building site, and I’m more involved in the sourcing phase, finding the furniture and deciding where it will go in the space. That’s a huge subject: the position of an object in a space (laughs)! I think there’s the exact place for an object: and once it’s found its place, it’s difficult to remove it. It’s as if it’s always been there. Speaking more generally, we like to create a whole, an ensemble, a total setting. Let’s say Loris creates the bubble, and I fill it. Like a musical score, I find that a setting, as an organised totality, can be accepted or rejected en bloc.
What were your inspirations for your home?
I don’t believe you can choose or define inspiration. Rather, it reveals itself in the course of creation. As my own client, I didn’t set myself any guidelines. I preferred to let myself treat it as a blank canvas. I came into the apartment with the freest eye possible and, as I went along, I realised what I owed to the influences – as different as they are – and to the creators who live within me and who are a part of me. I’d say my world is relatively baroque. I love the emphasis, the triumph, the theatricality of the staging, the sensuality and exuberance of it all! I like décor to be dramatic: “un grand sentiment dramatique”, as Louis Jouvet put it! You can see this clearly in the decoration of the Palace, which I designed in 2019 for the reopening of the legendary 1980s nightclub. I also like to dwell on the details, to incorporate fantasy and humour. They are like clues to an enigma. Which one? No idea, but they inspire me! I love taking a fresh look at objects and putting them to uses other than the one they’ve always had and for which they were created: the rubbish bin in my bathroom is a silver champagne bucket from the 1970s (laughs), and the jewellery box is a silver butter dish in the shape of a shell. I also wanted to make each room unique. The blue and yellow in the bathroom takes me to the sea and the sand. The toilets – like a den – are covered from floor to ceiling with an abstract fresco by the artist Ines Zenha. I always like to be amused, like in front of Christian Bérard’s trompe-l’oeil (he made quite a few for Jouvet’s productions at the Théâtre de l’Athénée) or in J. Royère’s children’s room with the central ladder to access the floating mezzanine, which is a playroom! More generally, I like an interior to be hybrid and to create a surprise. In the end, it doesn’t matter what its style and inspirations are, as long as it provokes an emotion. I also find myself perfectly at home in Jean-Michel Frank’s surprisingly unfurnished, almost too orderly, worlds. “Discard, always discard. Elimination is the ultimate elegance.”
I love cooking and setting magnificent tables. Maybe that's why I like silver so much. What I like, more precisely, is the monofunctional quality - with an extremely precise use - of each piece contained in a canteen.
What inspires you in your job? Tell us about your career path.
During my time at Christie’s, I developed a taste for the thinking of W. Morris, the work of J. Hoffmann, and Art Deco. Then I became interested in contemporary creation through working with Francesco Pirrello, founder of 1000 Vases. It was during this period that I met Roberto Baciocchi, an architect-decorator, with whom I’ve had long discussions on the concepts of space, atmosphere, décor and decoration. I have a deep appreciation for his eye, his sensitivity and his exaggerated curiosity. Then, my affinity with the spectacular, the grandiose, and the dramatic (!) led me to create sets for films, music videos and theatre. I like Bernard Evin’s effective and perfectly studied direction in Le Bel Indifférent (Jacques Demy – 1957), the majestic lines of the pre-war architecture designed by Osvaldo Desideri in Bertolucci’s Le Conformiste, and the dizzyingly intelligent setting of the upper and lower cities in Metropolis (Fritz Lang – 1927). Nowadays, the work of Emmanuel Clolus, Wajdi Mouawad’s scenographer, inspires me a lot for my interiors; it’s both spectacular and intimate.
Does Arthur give you a free hand in choosing the pieces you find for the house?
(Laughs) To tell the truth, he doesn’t have any choice!
What would be your wildest dream piece for your home?
There are pieces I love by Koloman Moser and Joseff Hoffmann, especially their modernist chair with armrests and a chequerboard seat, made for the hall of the Purkersdorf Sanatorium in Austria, and their Art Nouveau armchair from the Vienna Secession, made in wood and marquetry. It combines the functionality and simplicity of handmade production with materials so noble and sophisticated that they would reduce me to tears (laughs). I’m also thinking of a three-fold wooden screen decorated with figures, bordered with moulded and carved gilded baguette, designed by Christian Berard. More sculptural, I’ve always been amused by Kim Moltzer’s Gunnera leaf chair with its bronze seat representing a giant leaf resting on five legs! And one for the road: Martin Székely’s Pi chair designed in 1984 for Néotu.
And which item you like the most?
I love cooking and setting magnificent tables. Maybe that’s why I like silver so much. What I like, more precisely, is the monofunctional quality – with an extremely precise use – of each piece contained in a canteen. Objects that are limited to their unique function, combining the beautiful and the useful: the paper-knife, the strawberry spoon, the absinthe spoon, the sifter, etc.
Where will we see you in the coming months?
As far as Servadio Studio is concerned, on the construction sites of a house in the South and a hotel! In addition to our collaborative projects, we like to give ourselves the freedom to work on individual projects as well. It’s always very rewarding. At the moment, Loris is collaborating with his architect friend Rachel Gabrielli Cohen on the renovation and extension of a mansion in Versailles. And I’m finishing a furniture and decoration project for a flat in the Marais, with my associate, Stéphanie Darmon. And for Feu!Chatterton, see you at the Zenith on 14 April!
Photography: Constance Gennari – Text: Caroline Balvay @thesocialitefamily