In Paris, Polish architect Anna Popiel-Moszyńska of the Pomo.archi studio redesigned the space of a lawyer's office into a 220 m² apartment for a family with four children. She combined tradition with modernity, giving the space a charming and laid-back feel.
Malgorzata Tomczak: Anna, you redesigned the space completely, changing the function, layout and program of the rooms. What was the biggest challenge in this project?
Anna Popiel-Moszyńska: The big challenges in this project were a couple. The space we found was not previously used as a residential space, but as an office space. This was both a brake and a stimulus when planning the new use. Since in Paris every square meter is almost "at a premium," a new functional idea was needed for the development of the entrance hall space. Two large library bookcases were custom-designed there, with their division respecting the existing arrangement of panels dividing the wall surfaces, as well as armchairs and a chaise longue inviting to read. The biggest challenge, however, was the new location of the kitchen. In wealthy townhouses, these usually small rooms were placed at the back of the building, never on the representative side of the entrance facades. Often separate staircases led to them - as in the Malesherbes project. They were used by servants who ran errands and cooked for the owners - this is still the case in many houses in the wealthy neighborhoods of the French capital. Thus, the decision to incorporate the open kitchen into the space of the newly created central living room, formed from three smaller rooms, was by all means "revolutionary."
Malgosia: The most important space is the kitchen connected to the living room. You clearly marked the function with colors - graphite elegant matte finish was given to the kitchen. The living area, on the other hand, is bright. Most interesting, however, is the combination of traditional and modern. We have decor in the form of stucco on the walls and ceilings, fireplace surrounds and modern simple forms that break this bourgeois style.
Anna: Exactly. The interiors are housed in a beautiful, post-Haussmannian townhouse and feature a great historical aesthetic and functional legacy. I think that with this type of place it is extremely easy to fall into the trap of a kind of historicism and bourgeoisness. So in the project I focused on the modernity of the proposed forms and solutions, while at the same time valorizing the historic "design" as much as possible, such as old stucco, parquet floors, doors and windows (by the way, newly made in Poland, but keeping the existing old systems of rotating cast iron handles). It was important for me to introduce color into the interior, but I was keen to avoid too much variety, which could result in a kind of cacophony and an impression of aesthetic disorder. Worth mentioning here is the fact that the surviving original fireplace is made of a heavily figured white and red marble, making it the only ever fireplace made of beefy Kobé, as my investor jokingly used to say. The rich grain of the stone, combined with the rich form of the object itself, forced me to commit a kind of architectural "sacrilege" - Namely, I decided to paint it the color of the walls. I am pleased with this decision - the antique, noble form remains, but its color and material no longer overwhelm the open interior.
Malgosia: Anna, how did you choose accessories? Lamps, furniture, colors, fabrics are very carefully selected, although they give the impression of nonchalant randomness. What guided you in your selection?
Anna: I graduated from the faculty of architecture and urban planning, but I chose to work in interiors - because I derive the greatest satisfaction from being able to inscribe a completely new function in the existing context while being able to select the finest details for the newly created space; such as upholstery fabrics, tableware, curtains, bedding, plaids, etc. Such was the case with this particular project. It so happened that this is the second apartment for the same investors - they trusted my, after all, subjective choices, while I tried to present them with proposals that corresponded to their needs, lifestyle. I try not to forget that it is my clients - not me - who will be the daily users of the space I design, and not to impose my choices at all costs. Sometimes a good interior is the result of a consensus, accepted by both parties involved.
I pay a great deal of attention to the design of lights and the selection of "moving", additional lighting - in my opinion, it is the light that largely affects our positive perception of a given space. A great inspiration for me is travel; while I am very close to the design of Scandinavian countries, I think I get the most from my frequent trips to Belgium, the UK and, above all, the Netherlands. I also regularly visit the biannual Maison & Objet (Home & Object) fair in Paris, where I try to follow current trends. I hope, however, that I probably already have my taste and preferences honed enough that it does not "interfere" with my vision of interior design, but only enriches it.
Malgosia: Thank you for the interview.
interviewed: Malgorzata TOMCZAK
1a. Ballroom lamp
1b. Merida L lamp
2a. Nicolle chairs
2b. Form 65 bar stool
2c. 3D Gubi bar chair
3a. Hummingbirds wallpaper
3b. Macchine Volanti wallpaper
4 Artemide Tolomeo Maxi lamp
5 Vitra Cornishes shelves
6. Vitra Belleville Chair