Who better to breathe new life into an architectural project than the person who will live in that space? With the Rue Vignon project, an American Architect brings a modern way of thinking into a classic French apartment.
Michael Herrman is an American-born architect who shares a Parisian flat with his wife Cecile, and Rose, their two-year old daughter. It is a 1,500-square foot space that’s gone largely untouched since it was built in the 1790s. Herrman decided to indulge in his fascination with Le Corbusier and literally transform their living space with a little modern thinking.
Le Corbusier often tried to disconnect viewers from the landscape. Herrman built on this idea with his utilization of altered perceptions. His flat was comprised of the 6th and 7th floors of his building with rooms that were awkwardly arranged, so he redesigned them, including the demolition of the 7th floor. This allowed him to utilize the space in more varied ways, including larger, taller rooms. In addition, he used glass as part of the altered perceptions theme, both as partitions to separate locations and floors to distinguish between levels. The glass partition was particularly effective, as it divided the apartment from the courtyard, which created a much more open feel and took better advantage of the courtyard’s vertical garden. Herrman also used lighting to accentuate his theme. With innovative lighting, computerized mirrors, designed furniture, and a rounded fireplace, his apartment uses lighting to play with a visitor’s perceptions. As a result, he creates a place where inside and outside and up and down, become true reflections of each other.
However the star of the show is the open courtyard. This was the first area he redesigned and all the other areas were adapted with the courtyard as the focal point. In keeping with altered perceptions, he treated it as an interior rather than exterior space. The grass acted at the “room’s” carpeting and it includes a fireplace and more mirrors that make it a further reflection of the inside of the flat.
Herrman used a theme of “altered perceptions” to emphasize the classic beauty of a space and took it to the next level with some modern thinking. What are your thoughts on his blending of the past and the present? Share your perceptions in the comments below.