When not in Beirut, Lebanese interior designer Claude Missir spends time with family in this very personal, modernist haven in the heart of the French capital.
Designer Claude Missir and his wife.
Says Lebanese interior designer Claude Missir: “The purpose is not to change the soul of the space I am working on. I merely attempt to preserve and enhance the outstanding spirit of timeless architecture and interiors.”
Missir stayed true to this commitment in his Parisian pied-a-terre located on the ultra-chic Avenue Montaigne, in the 8th arrondissement. Nestled in a beautiful Haussmann-style building, the 145 sq m apartment has everything one could dream of in Paris. Charm and history pervade the interior spaces, while culture and luxury are immediately accessible outside, with the Champs-Elysees within easy reach.
Despite the room's interesting accessories, the focus remains on the iconic architecture of the home.
Missir spends much of his time in Beirut, where he founded his eponymous studio in 1998, but also enjoys being in Paris with his wife and children, especially during weekends and holidays, as well as for some business trips.
As the interior designer recalls, it was far from easy to find the perfect place. "We searched and viewed over 100 premises all around town,” he says. What made him fall in love with this particular one? "The sun orientation; the way natural light propagates across the entire space, and the fact that the apartment is located in a corner, on the fourth floor, which is a rarity in this particular arrondissement.”
The quaint dining nook looks out into the vibrant streets of Paris.
In addition to the luminosity, the size of the space and its proportions also convinced him that it was truly ideal. "Compared to our other homes, this apartment brings out an air of communication between all members of the family,” Missir explains. "Here, we are in closer proximity to one another, constantly mingling with one another, and we love that.”
The interior designers also describes the home as a space of freedom. "It is a pleasurable home – a pearl in the city,” he adds.
The art pieces are carefully curated so as to maintain the chic modernist feel of the home.
An admirer of French modernist designers and architects of the 1930s, Missir naturally choose to reflect his passion throughout his Parisian home. His vision of elegant simplicity and sophisticated minimalism – combined with the fusion of modern and vintage furnishings in neutral tones and contemporary artworks in vivid colours – is masterly executed.
Plain stainless steel panels in the kitchen add to the sense of sophistication.
In an elegant backdrop that honours the spirit of the Belle Epoque era and the historic soul of the apartment, the herringbone oak parquet flooring, white gypsum moulding and panelling, and black and brass freams embody Missir's will to nurture a sense of peace. These carefully curated materials collectively create a perfectly balanced atmosphere. “It is essential to transform a house into a home at every level," Missir says.
Bold forms dominate the living area, anchoring the look of the entire apartment.
Pieces of furniture by Pierre Jeanneret, Martine Szekely, Pierre Guariche, Pierre Paulin, Robert Mathieu, Joschua Brunn and Ron Arad complement artworks by Agostino Nonalumi, Enrico Castellani, Glenn Ligon, Raymond Pettibon, Andy Warhol, Cassandra MacLeod, Gilbert & George, Richard Prince and Paul McCarthy.
The marble-clad bathroom is accented by large mirror panels on the wall and cabinet doors.
"The history of styles inspires me; I like to rewrite them my way, with a twist of minimalism and fancy," Missir says. "I love the notion of mixing pieces. I did not buy these particular pieces for this particular apartment; I have collected them from many different places and over a long duration of time.”
With its monochrome palette of black and white, the master bedroom offers an atmosphere of calm and serenity.
The soft colour palette of the furniture and overall space form an invitation to focus on the art pieces that add touches of surprise and humour, such as the Richard Prince one in the living room that says "My parents wouldn't take me to Disneyland. They told me Mickey Mouse got eaten by a cat". "Deep inside, we are big kids and always will be'" smile Missir.
When it comes to his favourite tones, black and white top the list. He explains: "They are neutral so I don’t get tired of them, especially when I am constantly seeing and using many colours, patterns and textures. Here, I feel happy – and grateful.”
Photos GIORGIO POSSENTI & JEAN-FRANCOIS JAUSSAUD
Portrait GIORGIO POSSENTI