Issue No. 6 The Paris Issue
Photo Credit: Masinissa
Editor’s Letter Paris is a city riddled with relics of bygone days. While walking down well-trodden boulevards, it’s easy to see how history’s greatest artists found solace by simply strolling. In these moments – tracing the footsteps of Picasso in Montmartre, or winding our way through Belleville – we rekindled that feeling of endless discovery that only Paris can induce. Coincidentally, Aleyah and I were both 15 years old when we respectively visited the French capital for the first time. I’ll never forget taking in the view from Sacré-Cœur, the metropolis unfolded across the horizon like a treasure map. Even Napoleon III couldn’t have envisioned a city of this magnitude. When we started Here & There Magazine, Paris was always part of the plan. I knew I had to return, and for Aleyah, it would also become her new home. Known for its important role in both the fashion and art worlds, the city is an ideal place for travelling creatives. As a result, our sixth issue is our largest yet. The range of featured talent is diverse, but all of them have one thing in common: a passion for letting their feet guide them through the city. In our cover story, fashion designer JeanCharles de Castelbajac explains how he never feels alone while walking through Paris – he’s always surrounded by ghosts. For emerging artist Smäil Kanouté, sitting on the steps of Sacré-Cœur in the early morning is a favoured ritual. As discovered in our interview with street artist Kashink, home is where you make it (and it’s a bonus if it includes croissants from Le Triomphe bakery.) In this issue, our love of Paris is clear. Flip through these pages and you’ll take a walk with us through the city of lights, the universal muse. - Julia and Aleyah (co-founders)
Julia Eskins Editor-in-chief
Aleyah Solomon Creative Director
Konstantina Pyrnokoki Editorial Assistant David Taylor Advertising Director Katie Sullivan Editorial Intern
Contributors Amanda Bell Lorraine Koné Afrikann Omari Aissatou. M “Missmakeupholikk”
www.hereandtheremag.com Instagram: @hereandtheremag Facebook: /hereandtheremag Twitter: @hereandtheremag © 2016 Here & There Magazine
CONTENTS Issue No. 6: Paris ART STREET SCENE Painting Outside the Box
ILLUSTRATION Paris In Ink 16 ONE TO WATCH Kinetic Kaleidoscope
POP CULTURE Spirited Brushstrokes 34
EXPLORE ABSTRACT SERIES Through The Looking Glass
NEIGHBOURHOOD Against The Current
WHERE TO STAY A Travellerâ€™s Guide
Cover story featuing Jean-Charles de Castelbajac
FASHION FOREFRONT To Rock, But Not To Roll
MADE IN PARIS Mon Paris
SHOP TALK The Urban Humanist
ON THE RISE Modern Day Disco Inferno 116
DESIGN ARCHITECTURE Paris Deconstructed
HIGHLIGHT Frank Gehryâ€™s Glass Bateau
Cover: Patricia Mittler (Karin Models) wears Jean-Charles de Castelbajac x Rossignol
The Eiffel Tower, seen from Pont Alexandre III
ART STREET SCENE
Painting Outside The Box A street art tour with Kashink
Words by Julia Eskins Photos by Aleyah Solomon
It felt like we had been trailing Kashink for months, always a few steps behind the enigmatic street artist. We first came across her work in Miami – a colourful, cartoonish mural titled 50 Cakes of Gay that stopped us in our tracks while exploring Wynwood. By that point, she had already returned to her native France, leaving behind her playful, yet politically charged, mark on the city’s walls. After numerous emails, we agreed to meet at a café in Paris on a rainy evening. As luck would have it, we missed her again by just a few minutes. “A woman with a drawn-on moustache came in and was looking for you,” said the server, motioning to his upper lip and then pointing down the street. “She went that way.” By the time we glanced outside, she was gone without a trace. The next day, we tried again. This time, we successfully met at the same café in the 20th arrondissement, Kashink’s neighbourhood of 13 years. We recognized her immediately from her signature moustache; two stripes of defiance that have been part of the artist’s everyday look for three years. It’s an instant conversation-starter. “I’ve always been attracted to the idea of being different and provocative. I’ve never felt like sticking to what’s expected of me as an artist, woman, or person in general,” says Kashink. “Two symmetrical lines drawn on a woman’s face are acceptable as eyebrows or eyeliner, but if you put the same lines elsewhere it becomes the opposite of what feminine make-up should look like. It’s funny to question the absurdity of aesthetic codes.”
Kashink carries herself with animated exuberance, often throwing her head back to let out a hearty laugh. She even chose her artistic name because it sounded like an onomatopoeic word for action, something you would see in a comic book fight scene: “Pow, bang, kashink!” Drawing inspiration from her Spanish and Slovakian origins, and human rights issues, Kashink has become worldrenowned for her large-scale, diversity-conscious murals in Paris, Los Angeles, Chicago, Berlin, New York and other major metropolises. Her success has led to impressive collaborations, including designing a jacket for Gap in partnership with (RED), the AIDS organization founded by Bono and Bobby Shriver. One of her larger murals in Paris was commissioned by Amnesty International as part of their My Body, My Rights project, which explores reproductive rights. She has recently expanded her disciplinary scope to include performance art, short videos, gallery exhibitions, and even talks and conferences about gender identity and street art. Pass through the streets around Metro Maraîchers and you’ll likely find several doors and walls with Kashink’s telltale cartoonish creatures. We decide to go on an art tour of the area, a neighbourhood that she lovingly refers to as “her dearest.” Kashink downs the last drop of her coffee and jolts up from her seat. “Let’s go!” Our first stop is a shutter door, painted in 2014 as part of her Genre Libre series. Like all of her pieces, the race and gender of the character is purposefully ambiguous, but if you look close enough, you might spot Frida Kahlo in the eyebrows.
“I leave the interpretation up to the audience. If they want to see a Mexican or Indian person, who am I to say it’s wrong? Everyone has their own vision, depending on their life experience and the cultures they’ve interacted with,” she says. “In 2014, there were protests against gay marriage and gender studies being taught in schools. I reacted because they were super violent. In France, we protest all the time. But protesting against human rights? That’s not cool.” As a creative retort, Kashink began branding her work “funtivism” (fun activism) – a way to comment on serious issues, like societal codes associated with gender and ethnicity, in a positive way. Like all of her murals in the 20e, it was painted illegally. But interestingly, the owners sent her an email, requesting that she come back to paint another door on the other side of the building. “What I do is not vandalism per say. People appreciate it. I am not doing it to destroy things. That’s how I usually talk my way out of getting arrested,” she says.
As artists, we get the opportunity to share our ideas. If we have the potential for visibility, we might as well do something with a message.” The experience has inspired Kashink to take on more interactive projects, including painting a community centre near a few social housing projects. In the process, Kashink invited local youth to paint with her and captured the experience in a stop-motion animated film. “I wanted to do something for my neighbourhood because I love it. I’ve never stayed in the same place for so long. When you travel so much, it’s crucial to have a place to call home.” Her recent international trips led her to do solo shows in Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami, though she admits it has been challenging to adapt to the quietude of working on canvas in a studio.
With her lively murals now recognizable around the world, Kashink has become somewhat of a Paris luminary, known for engaging communities through her insightful work. A week after the Paris attacks in November 2015, she painted a wall on the street where some of the terrorists grew up.
She’ll soon face one of the biggest tests of all: wearing her signature moustache in Africa – a daunting feat in a region that is so culturally different than France. If all goes well, she just might get it permanently inked. “If I tattoo it, I would think of it as my own tradition; a new kind of folklore. Just as some cultures have codes, I like the idea of creating my own.”
“After the attacks, it meant a lot to be able to go outside,” says Kashink. “I wanted to offer the kids and people in that neighbourhood an opportunity to paint with me. It was meaningful to do a participatory project. I’ve never gotten so much positive feedback in such a short period of time.
Just like her spray-painted characters, Kashink is no stranger to giving people something to talk about – always leaving behind a provocative splatter and a memory of that unforgettable moustache. After all, blank canvases were meant to be painted, and some rules were meant to be broken. ■
Paris In Ink Juliette Poneyâ€™s whimsical world
Words by Julia Eskins Illustrations by Juliette Poney
Juliette Poney has the Eiffel Tower in the palm of her hand. Apparently, that’s what happens when you’re fortunate enough to grow up on a barge across from the iconic lattice landmark. The Paris-based illustrator admits that seeing the Seine every day as a child was a “big privilege” and a source of inspiration. Coming from a family who valued visual creativity – her mother was a professor of arts and her father is an architect – drawing has always been her preferred form of self-expression. Today, she creates dreamy illustrations that blend fashion, pop culture and Parisian life with surrealism. Her talents have led her to take on a steady stream of projects, including illustrating for fashion magazines and brands like Fendi. If you walk by Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche, you’ll likely see Poney’s art in the windows – she’s worked as a graphic designer for the Paris department store for several years. Despite her commercial success, Poney has stuck to her creative guns, developing and staying true to a style that is completely her own. In an interview with Here & There Magazine, she explains the art of finding success and inspiration in France’s capital. Julia Eskins: Your illustrations are imaginative yet incorporate real-life references. Who or what has constantly inspired you throughout your career? Juliette Poney: Small but mighty ponies, the voice of Scarlett Johansson, Pina Bausch, beaches in Corsica, the mud in Bretagne, a good camembert cheese and the way Catherine Deneuve smokes... but mostly, my family and my friends!
JE: And what about Paris? How does the city influence your work? JP: I’m a lover of Paris and I’m always happy to find my city again after I travel. It’s an incredible place that can be rediscovered every day just by passing a door or raising our eyes to discover a façade we didn’t see before. JE: What are some of your go-to places in your neighbourhood? JP: I live in the 11th arrondissement; a very lively district. There are many cafes, bars, small shops and bookstores. There is a very good pizzeria called l’Altra on Rue Saint-Maur. I also like the burgers from Marché des Enfants Rouges and I often go to a bookshop called Librairie La Friche. JE: Where do you go when you need a dose of visual stimuli? JP: I just drive on my scooter, from street to street without necessarily a destination, or I sit on the banks of the Seine. JE: Some believe it is rare to become a successful artist (and make a living from it.) What was the biggest challenge you faced while finding success in your field? JP: I believe all artistic jobs are difficult because making a name for oneself is not simple. For me, the most difficult part is pricing my work. Sometimes, a small illustration will take me longer to complete than a larger one. Some projects are obvious, others I spend days and days reflecting on.
JE: What is your illustration process like? JP: It depends on the request but most of the time, I work with a pen and paper, then scan my drawing and add colour on my computer. It is very important for me to first illustrate by hand because I love the mistakes that are created by ink. JE: You’ve illustrated everything from clothing and interiors to tattoos and books. Is there an area of your practice that you’d like to explore more in the future? JP: I want to draw on leather shoes, bags and jackets, and experiment by illustrating on other materials with new tools, such as learning how to tattoo. JE: What has been your most memorable project to work on so far?
JP: I have two projects that moved me the most. The first one was the celebration of 160 years of Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche. I worked on it for almost two years. It involved researching the archives of the store, in order to combine modern and past references. I drew all the exhibitions, windows and packaging. The second one was my first personal exhibition in a gallery in Montmartre. I created three unique works about religion and ponies. It was also the first time I met the incredible people who follow me on Instagram. JE: As a Parisian artist, why do you think the city is so magnetic for creative people? JP: Art is very easily accessible here as we have many museums, theatres, cinemas and concept stores. In Paris, it’s impossible to be bored. We always have something to do. There is always something to make. ■
Bassin de lâ€™Arsenal
The Arc de Triomphe
ART ONE TO WATCH
Kinetic Kaleidoscope The many arts of Smäil Kanouté
Words by Julia Eskins Photos by Aleyah Solomon
It was in the streets of Paris – the 18th arrondissement, to be exact – where Smaïl Kanouté first found his groove. As an eight-year-old eager to imitate Michael Jackson’s moves, the self-taught dancer was on a mission to moonwalk. At the time, he didn’t anticipate that he would one day become a multidisciplinary artist, mainly working in the mediums of movement, silkscreen and graphic design. Fast forward a couple decades and you’ll find Kanouté performing and exhibiting his work around the world, along with running his own fashion label, WEAR’T, which recently graced the runway at New York Fashion Week. Despite his insane juggling act, Kanouté has a calm, breezy disposition – a stark contrast to the frenetic feel that surrounds us when we meet in the district of La Goutte d’Or, Paris’s Little Africa. After our faire la bise (the French act of kissing on the cheek to say hello), we zig-zag through the dizzying crowds to his apartment, a print-filled space in the heart of Barbès.
school, he and his friends would practice in Parc de La Villette or use shop windows as their mirrors. “When I walked down the street, I created music in my head,” he says. “I developed an intuitive and spontaneous way of dancing through various encounters, nourished by my imagination. Dance is a meeting of people – an exchange. Sharing is very important in my artistic approach because I am influenced by the energies of the people I meet.” Simultaneously, Kanouté began to fall in love with another art form: Manga comics and the world of graphics. After experimenting with replicating Pablo Picasso’s Guernica painting in different styles, he had his first exhibition at the Picasso Atelier in 2002. He soon went on to work with the Méharées Association, practicing art therapy with Sri Lankan children who survived the tsunami and performing at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris.
“I love this area because it’s alive. It’s a bubble,” says Kanouté. “I like the colours of the clothes, the languages, personalities and cultures. The district is being gentrified but it will never lose its soul. It resembles a movie because you’ll often see unusual scenes.”
In recent years, he has taken to the stages of Basilica of Saint Denis and the Pantheon Paris, working with esteemed choreographers and dancers such as Radhouane El Meddeb and Raphaëlle Delaunay from the Paris Opera Ballet. For him, visual arts and dance are interconnected, with each medium influencing the other through rhythm and shape.
Kanouté has lived in the area since 2005, but didn’t grow up too far away. As a child, the city was his playground– and his dance studio. Rather than studying at a classical ballet
“A friend once told me that I danced like a brush painting patterns in the air,” he says. “I like to go from one universe to the other because it allows me to remain creative.”
During a university exchange trip to Rio de Janeiro in 2010, Kanouté began to fine-tune his multidisciplinary approach through a parallel study of graphic design and Brazilian dance forms such as the Samba, the Forro and Baile Funk.
Kanouté’s no-holds-barred approach attracted the attention of designer Lamine Kouyaté of the iconic label XULY.Bët. The two collaborated on a fall/winter 2016 collection, shown at New York Fashion Week.
“One night during Carnival, on Ipanema beach, I joined a group of percussion musicians and dancers. They invited me to show them dance steps. It was one of the most beautiful meetings I’ve ever experienced at the Carnival. I was in a trance!”
“Art in Paris is grey. There are no colours. It’s not alive, but tortured. When I was studying at École des Arts Décoratifs, practically all the students worked in black and white and if there were colours, they were dull,” says Kanouté. “Colour does not scare me and I love it. I use it to remind people to live.”
Kanouté describes the process of printing his first t-shirt in 2011 as “magical.” Upon returning to Paris, he collaborated with Charline Troutot and Louis Bottero to launch WEAR’T, an apparel brand built on the crossroads of fashion and serigraphy. Kanouté creates the graphics and printed textiles, which Troutot uses to construct the garments. Each piece is handmade and unique, featuring bold motifs inspired by African, Asian, Australian and South American cultures. “While in cities like Rio, Sao Paulo, London and Berlin, I noticed that people dared to create new art from scratch. In Paris, everything is slow because we talk a lot and need to be reassured,” he says. “In France, we continue to recycle our cultural heritage, which is very powerful, but we need to shake up the Parisian artistic scene.”
The Paris-based artist has taken the word “live” to the next level by recently starting his own dance company, Vivons, to manage his performances, videos and choreographic projects. “This word means everything to me,” he says. “As Pina Bausch said, ‘Let’s dance, let’s dance before it’s too late.’” Whether that dance is the stroke of a brush, the transfer of ink onto fabric, or a moonwalk through the streets, it’s the act of creating something new that makes Kanouté beam. Paris’s Pantheon may hold the tombs of Voltaire and Rousseau, but as they say, sleep is for the dead. It’s the ones dancing at street level, the ones who don’t stop, that make the city feel alive. ■
http://smailkanoute.com @smail_kanoute | @weart_fr
ART POP CULTURE
Spirited Brushstrokes Louis-Nicolas Darbonâ€™s fashion-inspired canvas
Words by Konstantina Pyrnokoki Photos courtesy of Louis-Nicolas Darbon
Imagine living in a world full of colourful prints, where Scrooge can be found partying – a bottle of the finest, most expensive champagne in hand – next to Karl Lagerfeld, who’s showing off his boxing skills. This peculiar universe actually exists, inside Louis-Nicolas Darbon’s mind. To unlock it, just look at the Parisian-born artist’s prints, which showcase how he boldly connects fashion with art, responding to the reality he lives in. While Darbon will never forget his French roots, London has been his home for the past seven years, with the city’s energy clearly reflected in his work. Apart from his prints, he’s collaborated with a number of brands, such as Audi and Massimo Dutti, on illustrations and special design projects. He’s constantly influenced by everything that’s going on around him, trying to, in turn, influence others through his work. Here & There Magazine caught up with Darbon to learn more about his vibrant art, love for pop culture and fashion, as well as his passionate involvement in blogging and social media. Konstantina Pyrnokoki: You were born in Paris but are currently based in London. How did you make your way to UK’s capital? Louis-Nicolas Darbon: When I went to business school in Paris I enrolled in the international programme, which meant that I spent one year abroad – six months in New York and six months in Asia (Hong Kong, Tokyo and Shanghai). Through my job at Marc Jacobs in Paris, I managed to get transferred to a role at Louis Vuitton’s head office in London. KP: Having lived in both London and Paris, what strikes you as the most notable difference between the two cities? LND: London is full of energy and creativity; it’s dynamic with a great mix of people from all over the world. Paris is stunning, still the most beautiful city in the world... it’s like time is standing still. KP: Your prints are full of pop-culture references, mixing art with the world of fashion, film and even comics, in a sassy, playful way. How did you develop your style of bringing together these different forms of expression? LND: All my prints are based on original works of art and, at the moment, I have 20 prints available to purchase through my website and I’m launching new prints before Christmas. I have always been inspired by the fashion industry that I spent so many years working in, from the logos to the famous models and iconic actors, and by pop-culture icons like Scrooge – that represent the irony of the finance world. I’ve always been really interested in photography, so my paintings are as close to a photograph as an original work of art can get.
KP: Apart from your prints, you’ve also worked with big fashion houses like Massimo Dutti on illustration projects. What has this experience taught you and how did you decide to do it? LND: About three years ago, when I went to Pitti Uomo for the first time, I illustrated many of the style icons onsite at the fair and it created a lot of buzz back then. Everyone came, collected their illustration and shared it on their Instagram account. Before I knew it, everyone wanted one. I think I’ve pretty much illustrated every menswear style icon in the world! One thing led to another and I received a call from Massimo Dutti. It’s by far been my favourite illustration project I ever worked on. Drawing a collection based on fabrics and ideas was really exciting and nothing I had ever done before. KP: If you were to choose between illustration and prints, which do you find the most appealing and why? LND: They are two totally different works and it would be impossible to choose. My prints are based on original works of art, which is the heart of my business. The illustration project is something that I really enjoy as it combines my two worlds of fashion and art. KP: You’ve done a lot of lifestyle blogging, as well! How do you use this platform to connect with others and further your career? LND: It all happened quite naturally, I have to admit. I realised when I started my social channels that just posting about art is not engaging enough. In the beginning, I only had my main account, so it was important for me to connect with different audiences – art, menswear, lifestyle and travel, which are essentially my passions. The blog became a window for me to let my readers know a bit more about me and engage with content in a different way than just through Instagram. KP: Which print or illustration project are you most proud of? What inspired its creation? LND: It’s hard to choose. There is a certain emotional attachment to each piece I create as I spend so much time on them. Maybe the original black Neon Chanel No5. It was one of the first pieces I created for my first group show in London and also the first print I launched. My girlfriend kept some empty Chanel No5 bottles at home. The shape of the bottle is so iconic and chic and I wanted to do something with it but wasn’t sure what. One day I created some melting paint on one of the bottles and I thought it looked amazing, so I replicated it on the canvas.
KP: When it comes to an artist gaining recognition through his work, is talent enough? Or is ‘building a brand’ more important these days? LND: I think they go hand in hand, I think it’s hard to create a brand without talent and, equally, you can be the most talented person in the world but, without the right branding, image or marketing, no one will know about you or your talent. KP: As an artist with many talents yourself, which events during your younger years have influenced your way of thinking and fuelled your artistic ventures? LND: Living abroad in cultures completely different from mine, travelling and working in different corporate environments. Meeting people and understanding business is essential to starting your own venture; without this experience I don’t think I would be where I am today. KP: What advice would you give to an artist starting out in the industry today? LND: Know your audience and use all the tools that are available out there. We live in a modern, digital world, so make sure to use them right. Stay focused, be curious, experiment and make sure to always evolve with new techniques and styles – don’t stay in your comfort zone, learn something new every day and remember that hard works pays off. KP: What do you have planned next? LND: I am currently working on a big art project in Japan which will launch in March or April next year. I am also preparing for another show that will take place in Los Angeles, which I am doing together with a renowned celebrity photographer. ■
http://www.louisnicolasdarbon.com @louisnicolasdarbon | @artbylouis
A city view from Parc de Belleville
EXPLORE ABSTRACT SERIES
Through The Looking Glass A surreal vortographic series of popular areas in the city, detached and reconstructed into each other, displaying different angles in one view. By Aleyah Solomon
Against The Current Wander around Canal Saint-Martin
Words by Konstantina Pyrnokoki Photos by Aleyah Solomon
There must be no better way to relax than skipping stones across the water. Or at least that’s what actress Audrey Tautou convinced us of when she charmingly embraced the character of Amélie. As we watched her standing on Canal Saint-Martin’s iron footbridge throwing flat stones into the water, all of her ‘little pleasures’ – the small things that brought her joy in life – suddenly made sense. Fifteen years later, the Canal’s waters are just as calm, but the neighbourhood is far from quiet. Bursting with artistic venues, boutiques and hipsterish cafés, the area surrounding the Canal has now become one of the locals’ – and the tourists’ – place to be.
But it wasn’t always like that; fully constructed in 1825, the Canal Saint-Martin first served as a waterway, communicating with river Seine, to supply Paris with fresh water and help battle epidemic diseases of the 19th century, like cholera and dysentery. Apart from water, this artificial thoroughfare enabled the transport of food, building materials and other goods carried on boats via its two ports: the Port de l’Arsenal and the Bassin de la Villette. Extending over several arrondissements and having been partly paved in the 1960s, the Canal SaintMartin connects the Canal de l’Ourcq to the river Seine, running underground between Bastille and République.
Facts On The Side: Napoleon I ordered the construction of the Canal in 1802. Its costs were covered by an additional tax imposed on wine – quite the price to pay for Paris’s vino lovers!
Some of the area’s gruesome history still lingers on today. Visitors might not be thrilled to discover a hospital built for plague victims in the 17th century (way before the construction of the Canal), or the gibbet, a site used for public execution back in the day. At the same time, it seems that the Canal’s own history was literally washed up on its banks a few months ago, after it was drained and cleaned for the first time in 14 years! Next to tons of undefined garbage, the debris collected at its bottom comprised of countless bottles, shopping carts and even bikes and motorcycles.
One might wonder, then, how locals and tourists alike manage to stay unfazed by the neighbourhood’s decadent look. But it’s actually this authentically quaint setting that makes the area around the Canal so attractive, and the reason why numerous cafés and bars, as well as galleries and museums, have chosen its banks to be their home. Besides, the impressive graffiti art on the surrounding walls and buildings quickly give away the area’s boho artistic identity, as does Cent Quatre, the former municipal mortuary turned multimedia art space, just north of the Canal.
▶▶▶ Facts On The Side: One of the first things one notices along the Canal is the unusual hydraulic lifting bridge, the Pont levant de la rue de Crimée. The bridge was declared a historic monument in 1993.
The city’s ‘bobos’ – a cultural and linguistic blend of the bohemians and the bourgeois – have been flocking to the cozy banquettes of Chez Prune for their coffee or to Paris’s best viennoiserie, Du Pain et des Idées, for their pastries. Certain venues are ideal for philosophical conversations, such as Point Ephémère, a Berlin-esque beer garden, restaurant and art space connecting culture with dining, or the shabby chic Comptoir Général with its African décor, jazz tunes and delicious Asian dishes. Boutiques specializing in bespoke clothing like Balibaris, along with urban art galleries like L’Oeil Ouvert, celebrate the neighbourhood’s more refined – yet still unconventional – side.
The Canal’s transition from sordid waterway to cultural hub did not happen overnight, though. It wasn’t until the 1980s that the district’s warehouses began to be repurposed into more contemporary establishments – and, even so, progress was very slow. With the start of the 21st century, eventually came a complete revival of the district, the kind that Chez Prune’s opening in 1998 had hesitantly heralded. The cheap rents in the area initially played a major part in the process, as did the fact that the Canal was only a few feet away from the very vibrant Place de la République – which became even more accessible to tourists after its
Facts On The Side: The 4.5-km-long Canal is drained and cleaned only once every 10 to 15 years; so if you’re counting on finding a long-lost ring somewhere at the bottom, please let go.
renovation in 2013. The Canal’s cement banks have also become a favourite among students for picnicking and drinking, especially during the summer months. However, as the area keeps attracting more visitors and new shop owners, the signs of gentrification are becoming more and more prominent. Real estate prices have more than tripled compared to the ‘90s, reaching their highest in only the last five years. Similar patterns of gentrification have previously been noted in the Marais district, which is now commercialized to a great extent – with the kosher restaurants of the once strictly Jewish neighbourhood closing down one after the other.
The Canal is clearly headed down that road, but there might still be a glimmer of hope. While new cafés and boutiques continue to pop up, it’s good to know that some of them are locally owned, by people who might actually want to preserve the area’s aesthetics and free-spirited philosophy. If tourists let go of their selfie sticks, they’ll see that the neighbourhood is more than hip shops next to seemingly endless water; it’s what lies in its unpolished corners that counts the most. After all, the bottom of the Canal Saint-Martin can sometimes reveal gems. If all else fails, we can always take pleasure in the little things, like the sight of a stone skipping on calm water. ■
Facts On The Side: Amélie is not the only movie to have featured the Canal. It was partly the setting for Jean Vigo’s L’Atalante in 1934, while we got to see it again in Marcel Carné’s 1938 film Hôtel du Nord. Plus, Édith Piaf sang about it in Les Mômes de la Cloche in 1936.
View of OpĂŠra from Les Printemps
EXPLORE WHERE TO STAY
A Traveller’s Guide Experience Paris’s key neighbourhoods Words by Julia Eskins Photos by Aleyah Solomon
Despite its touristy reputation, the Marais is a dream district for architecture enthusiasts keen to wander down winding medieval lanes lined with antiquated buildings. In recent years, the area has become crammed with trendy stores that draw shoppers in droves, but this wasnâ€™t always the case. In fact, the Marais was once the stomping grounds of poor bohemian types. At one point, the area became so sordid that it was nearly destroyed by city officials who wanted to modernize Paris. Luckily, it never happened, though many nearby districts were updated with grand avenues and squares. Today, the enchanting neighbourhood has more pre-revolutionary buildings and narrow laneways than any other quarter in Paris. If you can look beyond the shops and crowds, or find a quiet side street, you can easily slip into a medieval reverie for a moment or two.
Hôtel de JoBo It’s not every day that you can stay at a hotel inspired by Joséphine Bonaparte (the wife of Napoleon I, known as Jobo by her closest friends). When Franco-American interior designer Bambi Sloan revamped the 4-star hotel built on the remains of a 17th century convent, she channelled the empress’s overthe-top personality and love of roses. Joséphine was the ultimate tastemaker of her time, and also a rule-breaker, who has continued to inspire decorators through the ages. After all, it was Joséphine who introduced the world to the first leopard print rug. At Hôtel de JoBo, the maximalist tone is set as soon as one passes through the entrance, a Napoleonic-style tent that welcomes visitors beneath a shower of roses. Inside, Sloan reinterprets the Directoire style with a touch of humour. The boudoirlike rooms feature printed wall coverings and the bathroom’s marble mosaic tiles are similar to those of Ancient Greece – very in vogue during 18th century. In the lounge, Caravaggio-style paintings and floral prints add to the multi-coloured chaos. Hôtel de JoBo is quite a departure from Scandi-minimalism but if you’re anything like Joséphine, you’ll appreciate this leopard print, rosecovered wonderland. http://www.hoteldejobo.paris @hoteldejobo
Hôtel de JoBo
Within walking distance: Musée Picasso and Rue des Rosiers, a street located in the heart of Paris’s Jewish quarter where you’ll find designer boutiques and the city’s best falafel at L’As du Fallafel. 65
La République Located on the border of the 3rd, 10th and 11th arrondissements, République is quite literally a community juncture for Paris’s artists, performers and demonstrators to meet. Case in point: Place de la République was the very square where Parisians gathered in record numbers after the 2015 attacks. Beyond that, the district extends to include a network of streets that appear to be bursting at the seams with restaurants, cafés, galleries and boutiques. The laid-back ambiance of the district lends itself well to those who love to aimlessly amble, letting their feet guide them to gems like the street art-filled Rue Dénoyez in Belleville, Marché des Enfants Rouges (the city’s oldest market, dating back to 1615) or one of the many nearby museums.
Renaissance Paris République Hotel Housed in an iconic 1970s building that was once a home for travelling artists, the Renaissance’s new Right Bank outpost fittingly embodies the free spirit of the République district. Renowned designer Didier Gomez, best known for his creations for Yves Saint Laurent, LVMH and De Beers, lent his fashionable touch to the interiors. With exotic woods and textiles juxtaposed with contemporary artwork and vintage furniture by Jean Prouvé and Charlotte Perriand, the guestrooms and public areas are a feast for the eyes. Gomez incorporated Paris’s melting pot of cultures into the aesthetic – a sculpture from Africa sits in the lobby, furnishings from Asia fill the guestrooms and local Parisian street art is peppered throughout. Even one of the city’s most prominent street artists, Kouka, recreated his famous Guerriers Bantus (Bantu Warrior) paintings on the windows of the hotel. Being of Franco and African descent, Kouka wanted to explore the traditions of his ancestors and create a link between the present and the past, a perfect touch for a modern hotel in a historical neighbourhood. http://www.marriott.com @renaissancerepublique
Within walking distance: The bohemian charms of Canal Saint-Martin and the burgeoning artist district of Belleville, where you can also find one of Paris’s Chinatowns. 69
In Parc de Belleville
Saint-Germain-des-Prés It’s been said that Saint-Germain-des-Prés is the ideal neighbourhood to practice the art of the flâneur (leisurely stroll.) With tree-lined paths, vintage French gardens and picturesque blocks filled with galleries and cafés, the district encapsulates the classical side of Paris. Like most neighbourhoods, it has a fascinating past. Artists Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir shared a studio in the district, while a young Picasso rented a room on Rue de Seine. Later on, Café Flore, one of the oldest coffeehouses in Paris, attracted philosophers like Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. Today, the neighbourhood draws travellers happy to explore the city’s romantic side, while still being within easy reach of iconic attractions like Musée d’Orsay and Notre Dame.
Hôtel Louison A visit to the city of lights is made even more memorable by staying in a historical home. Hôtel Louison is a perfect example. The mansion was once the royal residence of Marquise de Maintenon, the second wife of Louis XIV, who raised his children at the hotel’s very address. Later on, in the early 20th century, several artists of Montparnasse occupied the residence. Today, the hotel embraces its historic Left Bank identity with a blend of antique furnishings and artistic accents, including a mural that trails up a romantic, winding staircase. The hotel boasts a picturesque courtyard and cozy lounge that makes you feel as if you’re staying in a beautiful Parisian home, rather than a hotel. Downstairs, breakfast is served in a room covered with wallpaper showcasing a Turgot map of Paris dating back to the 18th century. Guestrooms are outfitted with French terraces, an ideal spot to watch the world go by. http://www.louison-hotel.com Within walking distance: The picturesque Jardin du Luxembourg, Fontaine Saint-Michel and the Eiffel Tower. 74
Jardin du Luxembourg
To Rock, But Not To Roll Jean-Charles de Castelbajac reflects on 50 years in fashion
Words by Julia Eskins Photos by Aleyah Solomon
Jean-Charles de Castelbajac sits in his apartment with a wool blanket draped over his lap, reminiscing about the past. The aristocratic French designer’s storied career has spanned half a century, including creative collaborations with icons and artists like Mick Jagger, Madonna, Jean-Michel Basquiat and even the Pope. Castelbajac is behind some of the most talked-about clothing items in recent history: Lady Gaga’s Kermit the Frog coat, Katy Perry’s President Obama dress and Farrah Fawcett’s costumes in Charlie’s Angels, to name a few. Even Andy Warhol acquired Castelbajac’s “poncho for two” back in the 1970s, which JC/DC (as he’s often affectionately referred to) delivered by hand to the artist’s Factory. But long before his tongue-in-cheek designs made pop culture waves, he was the boy with the blanket. The Casablanca-born, Paris-based designer has always been attracted to unconventional materials, including blankets. His deep fascination was sparked while visiting family in Canada in the winter. His uncle in Ottawa sent him into the woods for one month “to become a man,” but Castelbajac came out an artist.
“It was a difficult time. I had a huge Hudson Bay blanket that became somewhat of a home for me because I was so cold,” he says. “After that, throughout my whole life, I became very attached to blankets. Even Charles Schulz, the cartoonist who created Snoopy, always called me Linus. Blankets have a sense of protection and that relates to my work, which on one side is very protective and on the other side is a manifesto.” Castelbajac began his career by designing ready-to-wear for his mother’s company in 1968. Two years later, he presented his first collection. It’s no coincidence that his initial fashion hit was a jacket made out of his boarding school blanket. Before opening his own fashion house in 1978, he collaborated with Sportmax, the Italian house of Max Mara, and Iceberg. Later on, he designed for the Paris house of André Courrèges. Some of his most memorable designs, such as a coat made of Snoopy plush toys for model Vanessa Paradis, are now decades old, yet still hold a timeless allure. Above all, Castelbajac’s conceptual yet functional pieces have always reflected both sides of his personality: the artist and the designer.
“The artist is on earth to provoke questions. The designer is the opposite: he’s on earth to provide answers. I do both. After 50 years of work, both roles have come together in such harmony,” he says. “At 67, it’s inconvenient to think that most of my life is behind me, but my work has also become so mature, so clear; it’s become a loud weapon. Before, it was like a letter of resistance and now it’s like a virus of hope.”
“I’m so French but I’m so open to the world. I am inspired by the history of civilization,” he says. “I chose Paris over New York City because Paris has a link to the past. You can feel at home in Paris because you’re never alone – you’re always surrounded by ghosts. I was confident in Paris because I came from a 1000-year-old French aristocratic family, so I had history inside me and also a desire for modernity.”
At times, Castelbajac speaks like a poetic preacher – you can’t help but be captivated by stories from his colourful past spent with good friends Malcolm McLaren, who created the Sex Pistols, and artist Keith Haring. Even to this day, Castelbajac draws angels on city walls around the world in memory of Haring and often quotes McLaren fondly.
While Castelbajac’s apartment is an iconoclast’s treasure trove, the designer often explores cemeteries and other “places that most people don’t go” to ponder the greater reach of art and fashion. Castelbajac’s practice of appropriating pop culture, and contributing to it, has long been his signature. To this day, one of his most moving commissions was dressing Pope John Paul II in vestments adorned with rainbow crosses for World Youth Day in 1997.
“Malcolm was such a good storyteller. He once told me about how Oscar Wilde invented rock ‘n’ roll and I believed it.” he says. “He used to say that in this century, there is fight between authenticity and karaoke.” Music is a prime source of inspiration for the designer, who recently released his book Fashion, Art, and Rock’n’Roll, a collection of souvenirs, images and tales from his career. The designer’s self-described life motto is “to be a rock and not to roll,” one of the last lyrics of Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven. It also served as the bio on his Instagram profile, which Castelbajac regularly updates with photos of his family, creations and collaborations with a new generation of visionaries. Castelbajac has always been the type to move in various circles; collecting stimuli as it strikes him. Drawn to bizarre art and people, he refers to himself as an aimant (magnet), rather than a sponge. Perhaps this is why he eschewed tradition in favour of the avant-garde by joining Créateurs & Industriels. a design group that played a key role in launching the careers of Issey Miyake, Jean Paul Gaultier and Thierry Mugler, allowing a new wave of French designers to spread their wings.
“Suddenly, I realized that being a designer was not only about doing experimental things for a few people but it was also about having a social role,” he says. “When I made a dress with President Obama’s face on it, four months before he was elected, I received about 30 death threats. But it was reassuring to know that fashion is also a tool for democracy.” Lately, Castelbajac has been interested in reaching the mass market, leading him to design sportswear for Rossignol and become the Creative Director of Le Coq Sportif. Imparting his wisdom on the new generation, he frequently gives lectures at universities. Often, his advice to young artists looking for inspiration is to start with their childhood souvenir, the item that stirs up emotion, whether painful or joyous. For Castelbajac, it remains his blanket. He still has one lifelong dream yet to be fulfilled: designing for the Hudson Bay Company. “I put this blanket on my knee to remember the cold. We used to climb up trees. The problem was, I never knew how to come down,” says Castelbajac, who just so happens to be jet-setting off to Belgium as our conversation comes to an end. “That’s a metaphor for my life: I never know how to come down.” ■ http://www.castelbajaccreative.com @jcdecastelbajac | @castelbajacofficiel
FASHION MADE IN PARIS
Mon Paris Photographer/Artistic Director: Aleyah Solomon Hair Stylist: Afrikann Omari Make Up Artist: Aissatou. M “Missmakeupholikk” Wardrobe Stylist: Lorraine Koné Model: Patricia Mittler, Karin Models
Top: Ria Keburia Skirt: Wearâ€™t
Dress: Ria Keburia
Bomber: Wearâ€™t Sweater: JC de Castelbajac Paris x Rossignol Pants: Ria Keburia
Sweater: JC de Castelbajac Paris x Rossignol
Bomber: Wearâ€™t Sweater: JC de Castelbajac Paris x Rossignol Pants: Ria Keburia Bag: Maison Ravn
Hat: Stylist’s Own Dress: Wear’t Bag: Maison Ravn
Sweater: Ria Keburia Dress: Ambrym
Sweater: Ria Keburia Dress: Ambrym Bag: Maison Ravn
The Eiffel Tower, seen from Rue Saint-Dominique
The Urban Humanist Gabrielle Gérard’s Ambrym
Words by Julia Eskins Photos by Aleyah Solomon
Translating organic inspirations into wearable prints is practically second nature for Gabrielle Gérard. Even in the buzzing city, the Paris-based designer can’t seem to shake her memories of growing up on an island in the South Pacific; the place where she first connected with wildlife “between the lagoon, the bush and the banyan trees.” One part artist and one part entrepreneur, Gérard has struck a balance between style and sustainability with Ambrym, her locally made label – named after the island on which she grew up. The eco-friendly line’s boutique may be situated in Paris’s popular Canal Saint-Martin district, but the brand’s ethos is rooted in nature. Step into the Ambrym boutique and you’ll quickly notice that many of the pieces feature poetic prints or hand-painted details. Each item comes with an identity card that specifies the production date and location (all of her products are made in France), as well as the composition of the fabric (she often uses organic cotton, linen, recycled textiles and natural wool.) Ecological values are intrinsic to Gérard’s moda operandi of creating pieces designed for the urban humanist. A former student of ESMOD Paris and the National Conservatory of Art and Crafts, Gérard launched Ambrym in 2010 after designing for a fair trade brand in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Though Paris is her home, she still travels several times a year – often to exotic locales – to light her creative fire. We caught up with Gérard to talk about her island roots, environmental values and future explorations. Julia Eskins: You grew up in Vanuatu before moving to Madagascar, and later to Paris at age 16. How did your connection to nature at a young age impact you? Gabrielle Gerard: I think the most important things happen when you’re a child. You absorb everything like a sponge. Today, when I draw something, unconsciously there is always a tribal, organic, natural or bestiary influence. It’s the same with my sustainable commitment. For me, the link between humans and nature is indissoluble. JE: How does Ambrym remain competitive while also being eco-friendly and socially conscious? GG: Honestly, it’s not easy. Sometimes, I have to choose fabric that’s printed locally but that’s not necessarily organic. It’s very important to find your strong point and run with it. For me, it’s my prints. So I focus all my energy on that!
JE: Yes, and your prints are stunning. What inspires them? GG: My travels. I always do at least one big trip per year. I have a vital need to discover new lands, new cultures, new people and new perspectives. Last spring, I went to Cameroon and in the summer, I visited Iran. This summer, I will go back to my roots in Vanuatu. JE: When you’re in Paris, where do you like to spend your free time? GG: I really love the area where I live now, Jourdain, near Belleville. I lived in La Goutte d’or, one of the most popular areas of Paris, for seven years. It’s noisy and disordered but it’s alive. In the south of Paris, you’ll find the last authentic flea market in town. If you go early in the morning, you will see old guys playing cards behind their booths. The market is full of beautiful old pictures, botanical drawings and embroideries. JE: Your Paris shop is in the Canal Saint-Martin area. How would you describe this neighbourhood and what do you like most about it? GG: It has changed a lot in the last five years. Now it’s hipsterland and, in my opinion, a little bit too gentrified. But beyond that, it’s a very enjoyable area with the canal, great restaurants and terraces to drink coffee. République’s proximity puts us in the front seat for all the demonstrations – typical of France – and I like that! JE: With protests being popular in France, do you find people put forth the same passion when it comes to supporting ecofriendly fashion? GG: Sustainable fashion is complicated in France. People talk about being outraged that a textile factory collapsed in Bangladesh but then they will go to H&M or Zara to buy three t-shirts that they don’t need. They don’t realize that they have a part to play in all of it. Luckily, I have my faithful customers, and they are great! They give me the energy to believe. ■
http://www.ambrym.fr @gabrielle_ambrym | @ambrymparis
Along the Seine River
FASHION ON THE RISE
Modern Day Disco Inferno The Token Paris trio
Words by Julia Eskins Photos by Aleyah Solomon
Envision a universe where Joan of Arc spends her Saturday nights dancing at Studio 54 with Grace Jones. Everyone in the club is decked out in pieces gilded with glitter and sequins, and just the right amount of street edge. This is the world of Token Paris. Or at least it was the inspiration behind the emerging fashion label’s fall/winter 2016-2017 collection. It’s not uncommon for the brand’s concepts to fall somewhere between three worlds. After all, the Token team is a unique trinity: Brazilian-born Elena Budu and French Caribbean Nanjika Sallet form the label’s designer duo, while Marie Figueredo, originally from Cannes in the South of France, handles the marketing side of the operation. Budu and Sallet first met while studying fashion at ESMOD Paris and found they had quite a bit in common despite their distinctive backgrounds. Budu grew up flipping through her mom’s books on traditional Romanian embroidery and reading stories about the Middle Ages. She left Brazil to study in Milan, where she honed her skills in fabric work. Sallet, on the other hand, graduated as a graphic designer in Johannesburg, South Africa, where she developed a passion for colourful prints. With a mutual love for the 1980s and eye-catching textiles, the two designers joined forces to create their own dynamic label. “Even though my style is different than hers, and vice versa, each of us thought the other person’s aesthetic was so cool,” says Budu. We decided Token should always have a mixture of strong prints and a street vibe that comes from Nanjika, as well as a sense of preciousness through embroidery and detailed fabric work, which comes from me.” The third part of the equation is the business component, which Budu admits is a crucial element that many designers fresh out of school neglect to acknowledge. In Token’s case, Marie Figueredo was the ideal third party to step in and help the label find its market, a difficult task in Paris’s sea of black basics and fast fashion.
(L-R) Nanjika Sallet, Elena Budu and Marie Figueredo
“We focus on a niche market because our brand is not tagged as typical Parisian style, even though we have a lot of people telling us that we remind them of Jean Paul Gaultier and Christian Lacroix in the 1980s. As a brand, it’s really joyful,” says Figueredo. Part of that joy is derived from Token’s perpetual muses: artists like David Bowie, Freddie Mercury and Michael Jackson, and the shiny universes they carried with them. In fact, the trio often digs into the ‘80s in every possible way, admiring the costumes in movies like Weird Science and Married to the Mob. “People during that time dressed so confidently! Although, we don’t do big shoulders... because Nanjika doesn’t let me!” says Budu with a laugh. Undoubtedly, many of Token’s pieces are showstoppers: completely unique and rather dazzling. The team works closely on every piece, from sketching and conceptualizing to hand-embroidering the embellishments. “Sometimes we feel like it’s complicated to explain the true value of a piece, especially in Paris. We’re now focusing on the Japanese market because people there see the quality of the product and understand the concept of buying a signature piece that they keep and really enjoy,” says Figueredo. According to Budu, the fact that Token is a Paris-based label makes them even more appealing to foreign markets. Plus, the city provides an endless source of inspiration. “When I walk through the city, I still think, ‘Wow, I’m in Paris.’ When I was a child, I never thought that I would even come to Europe. It’s still very inspiring to cross the Seine, look around and feel the weight of the city’s history,” says Budu, who can often be found at the English-language bookstore Shakespeare and Company or soaking up the city’s nightlife. “We like the night a lot. We just found a new spot called Salò, which plays up the Berlin vibe that is now coming to Paris.” Boasting theme nights and impressive artistic direction, Salò is a rare gem in Paris’s nightlife scene, agrees Figueredo. The club even has a 1980s night, where you’ll likely spot a few shoulder pads in the crowd. Chances are Token will be there too, soaking up the atmosphere in sequin glory, just as their muses intended. ■
Photographer/Artistic Director/Wardrobe Styling: Aleyah Solomon Hair/Make Up Artist: Amanda Bell Models: Kamila Gutkowska and Azul Caletti, Karin Models
Looking east from Passerelle Simone-de-Beauvoir
Paris Deconstructed An Architectural FĂŞte French heritage is highly celebrated throughout the city of lights, with iconic monuments like the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower, and neoclassical museums reminding us of Parisâ€™s romantic allure. Every once in awhile, though, tradition gives way to bold design and, at times, these two manage to co-exist in modern pieces of architecture, such as the ones that follow. Words by Konstantina Pyrnokoki Photos by Aleyah Solomon
Cité de la Mode et du Design, Georges Morin-Goustiaux/Jakob + MacFarlane Back in 1907, architect Georges Morin-Goustiaux was asked to construct industrial warehouses on the banks of the Seine to store goods being transferred to the Gare d’Austerlitz. These ‘general storehouses’ were unlike any other of their time; with just a simple concrete façade – no embellishment whatsoever – they heralded a new era of contemporary architecture. In 2004, La Cité de la Mode et du Design took their place, in an attempt to create a cultural yet contemporary hub meant to “define Paris in the 21st century.” Architects Jakob + MacFarlane succeeded in honouring the city’s industrious heritage through this massive ‘vessel’ overlooking the river. The venue hosts the museum Art Ludique, the Institut Français de la Mode and a variety of nightclubs and restaurants.
The Flower Tower, Edouard François Never has a building been so connected to nature than Edouard François’ Flower Tower. Containing 380 pots of bamboo, this spectacular 10-story establishment is literally attached to Le jardin Claire-Motte, serving as its vertical continuation. The pots, seemingly hanging from the balconies, are actually embedded into the structure, with the rustling of the bamboo “giving the impression to those inside that they are sleeping in a tree.” Only three sides of the building are covered with flowers, the fourth one displaying plain concrete, almost as if unfinished. François wanted to play with the contrast of “attractive versus ugly” and express the desire for nature in the city. The Flower Tower was built in 2004 as part of a regeneration plan in the 17ème arrondissement, offering social housing ever since.
Hôtel Fouquet’s Barrière, Edouard François Once more, architect Edouard François decided to couple two apparently opposing elements under one roof. Contemporary architecture and old heritage go hand in hand at the Hôtel Fouquet’s Barrière, just like flowers blend with concrete on the Flower Tower. When asked to renovate this classic building into a hotel in 2006, François designed its luxurious interior, but also created façade extensions to the existing block, adopting a ‘copy-edit’ approach. Essentially, he copied the old ‘Haussmann façade,’ standing on Avenue des Champs Elysées, and edited it to apply to 21st century standards, retaining the charm of its posh surroundings. Using today’s industrial technology, François managed to reproduce the Haussmann epoque through grey concrete panels and characteristic windows of the time, connecting our present to the past.
La Cinémathèque Française, Frank Gehry/ Dominique Brard In an ambitious plan to build the American Center of Paris’s new headquarters, Frank Gehry created this neoclassical and cubist establishment in 1994, calling it “the dancer raising her tutu.” Its irregular geometry echoes the architect’s famous Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and the Walt Disney Concert Hall that followed. Met with criticism and insufficient financial support, the centre was forced to close its doors just 19 months later. It wasn’t until 2005 that the French government turned it into the current home of La Cinémathèque Française, now holding one of the largest archives of film documents and film-related objects in the world. The building’s inside spaces, reconverted by architect Dominique Brard, make excellent use of Gehry’s inclined planes, beautifully connecting the different volumes and overlapped levels.
The Canopy of Les Halles, Patrick Berger/Jacques Anziutti Vast umbrellas made of “iron, iron, nothing but iron!” was Emperor Napoleon III’s wish, when he created one of Paris’s most iconic markets in the 1850s. Since then, the site has suffered tremendous abuse, with the market being abolished in the 1970s, giving its way to an ugly, underground shopping centre that would be the city’s hotbed of drug dealing for the next three decades. Eight years ago, though, the City of Paris launched a complete reconstruction of the site, and the new Forum des Halles officially opened its gates in April. Its futuristic canopy roof, designed by architects Patrick Berger and Jacques Anziutti, stretches across 2.5 hectares and is known as ‘the biggest umbrella of all time.’
La Grande Arche de la Défense, Johan Otto von Spreckelsen/Paul Andreu Somewhere between the suits and ties of Paris’s busiest district, La Grande Arche de la Défense stands prominently, completing a series of monuments running through the city, known as the Axe Historique. A modern ‘alter ego’ to the emblematic Arc de Triomphe, La Grande Arche was designed to celebrate humanitarian ideals rather than military victories. A work of architect Johan Otto von Spreckelsen, and later on his associate, Paul Andreu, the monument was inaugurated in 1989, just in time to celebrate the bicentennial of the French Revolution. Famous for its ‘cube shape,’ the Arche resembles a “hypercube projected onto the three-dimensional world.” Its two sides house government offices, while the roof, now closed to the public for reconstruction, previously housed a computer museum, restaurant and viewing deck.
Frank Gehryâ€™s Glass Bateau A Look Inside Fondation Louis Vuitton
Words by Julia Eskins Photos by Aleyah Solomon
Photo Credits : Â© Iwan Baan / Fondation Louis Vuitton
Paris is a sea of striking neoclassical buildings, but sometimes, a new architectural gem arrives at just the right time. In the case of the Fondation Louis Vuitton, innovation sailed in by way of a crystal palace. The building, situated in the green fields of the Bois de Boulogne, is unlike anything the city has ever seen. Authoritative yet abstract, the curved structure has been a subject of discussion since it opened in 2014, and for good reason. The boat-shaped creation represents the union of two trailblazers: Frank Gehry, a Canadian-born, Los Angeles-based architect, and Bernard Arnault, the chairman and CEO of the LVMH luxury goods conglomerate. The two met at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao in 2001 and began collaborating on one of Paris’s biggest architectural projects of the 21st century. Over a decade later, the home of the Fondation’s contemporary art collection opened its doors, simultaneously reflecting history and marking a new cultural chapter. Situated next to the Jardin d’Acclimatation on the western edge of the city, the building’s remote location was chosen strategically. After all, erecting a modern structure in the heart of Paris would not be an easy feat. Fittingly, Gehry incorporated the airiness of the 19th century glass garden houses that previously occupied the site into the design, as well as the natural surroundings. ▶▶▶
Constructed beside a water garden created specifically for the project, the building consists of white blocks (known as “the icebergs”) surrounded by 12 glass sails supported by wooden beams. Gehry, who loves the shape of fish, as well as sailing, integrated these influences into the building’s form. Transparency and movement were also important, with the glass facade reflecting the water, garden and light. Inside, 11 galleries exhibit temporary and permanent shows and an auditorium hosts events and meetings. As guests move through the galleries, the large glass panels offer views of the gardens, incorporating the landscape into the experience. Gehry has long favoured the art of making “the bones” of a building visible, creating a delicate yet powerful dichotomy between glass and framework. Beyond its architecture, the Fondation Louis Vuitton marks a turning point for France’s cultural institutions, which, up until now, have been largely government-funded. While France has spearheaded architectural- and artfocused projects like the Centre Pompidou, there are still only a handful of private museums. Arnault’s ambitious venture may be business-driven, but it’s also reinvigorated Paris’s creative verve. When you see the Fondation for the first time, it can almost take your breath away. The contemporary works inside spark discussion and the glass façade speaks volumes. As light dances on Gehry’s sails, it’s clear: Paris is moving into a new cultural era. ■
Photo Credits : Â© Iwan Baan / Fondation Louis Vuitton
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