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Homes Home Tour: Curator and Collector Emmanuel de Bayser's Eclectic Pied-à-terre in Paris

Home Tour: Curator and Collector Emmanuel de Bayser's Eclectic Pied-à-terre in Paris

Home Tour: Curator and Collector Emmanuel de Bayser's Eclectic Pied-à-terre in Paris
By Noreen Johnson / Bureaux
January 09, 2019
A sophisticated, contemporary space filled with an exquisite collection of mid-century furniture and art

"I love a big international city where you can walk wherever you need to go,” says Emmanuel de Bayser, who divides his time between two such European locales—Berlin and Paris. In Berlin, de Bayser runs The Corner, a luxe concept store focused on fashion and design for men and women. Whenever he is in Paris, however, he spends his time working intensively on selecting the very best with which to stock his elegant establishment.

The Paris apartment is de Bayser’s base whenever he comes to town for the shows that punctuate the city’s seasonal fashion weeks. In a typical month, he spends about 70 per cent of his time in Berlin, and 30 per cent in Paris. Asked if he could choose between the cities, he demurs, explaining that each one offers such a different experience. “Berlin,” he says, “looks to the future—it is always becoming something—while in Paris, one has such a clear sense of what its history and culture are all about.”

In the living room, a
black standing lamp
by French lighting
designer Serge
Mouille contrasts
the colourful
ceramics by
Georges Jouve and
the grey artwork by
the 20th-century
German artist Bernd
Berner
In the living room, a black standing lamp by French lighting designer Serge Mouille contrasts the colourful ceramics by Georges Jouve and the grey artwork by the 20th-century German artist Bernd Berner

De Bayser’s Paris pied-à-terre is located in a building that is typical of the homogenous urban architecture of the mid-19th century when Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann was tasked to “renovate” the city under the command of Emperor Napoléon III (Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte,) though it was built several years after the legendary city planner’s death in 1870.

Originally each floor of the building was a single luxurious home, but these expansive spaces were gradually divided into smaller, more manageable allotments over the years. In fact, de Bayer’s apartment was subdivided from a larger residence next door.

elegant glass and wood
interior doors separate
the hallway from the
living room while
allowing light to stream
through the entire
apartment
De Bayser’s apartment
is situated in an elegant
neoclassical building
overlooking a Parisian
park filled with trees
A rare vintage Visiteur
chair by Jean Prouvé
takes centrestage in the
living room
Classic Paris
views along the
River Seine
 

Despite this downsizing of sorts, the smaller space—just 70 square metres in total—feels spacious and expansive. This is the result of the building’s elegant ‘bones,’ which include high ceilings that make for light-filled rooms and interconnecting doors with original glazed panels that open up the space and again allow light to move through. The feeling of luxurious roominess is accentuated by cream-coloured wall-to-wall wool carpeting. In addition, all of the apartment’s rooms look out onto an elegant Parisian park, which brings in fresh air and also provides magnificent views of manicured greenery.

For the better part of 20 years, De Bayser has mostly collected French mid-century design, furniture, and objets d’art. “This genre of design is timeless, [mid-century] mixes so well with the architecture from periods before it was created,” he says. “It has a patina and a lively character that somehow both contrasts and fits [in] with other styles.”

His charming apartment is a positive proof of these assertions: in this expertly curated space, items like a rare Visiteur wood and metal chair by the iconic mid-from a lounge set by Swiss modernist Pierre Jeanneret, and a black standing lamp by Serge Mouille seem perfectly at home. Boldly patterned bed linen crafted by contemporary French designer India Mahdavi adds a nice sophistication to the mix. There are also colourful ceramics by Georges Jouve, a collection of African tribal art figurines, and an excellent selection of contemporary artworks and books, many of which share space on a built-in bookshelf made by de Bayser himself.

The building’s original lift is clad in ornate cast-iron
detailing. The neoclassical pillars are typical
of Georges-Eugène Haussmann’s mid-19th
century ‘renovation’ of Paris
The building’s original lift is clad in ornate cast-iron detailing. The neoclassical pillars are typical of Georges-Eugène Haussmann’s mid-19th century ‘renovation’ of Paris

De Bayser’s pied-à-terre is located in a building typical of the urban architecture of the mid-19th century when Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann was tasked to “renovate” the city

On the mantelpiece in the living room are an African tribal art figurine and ceramic vases by French mid-century ceramicist Georges Jouve, and a yellow
artwork by the German 20th-century artist Bernd Berner
On the mantelpiece in the living room are an African tribal art figurine and ceramic vases by French mid-century ceramicist Georges Jouve, and a yellow artwork by the German 20th-century artist Bernd Berner
in the bedroom, boldly patterned bedlinen by the French contemporary designer India
Mahdavi combines beautifully with the room’s original neoclassical details, a wall-mounted sconce by the French lighting designer Serge Mouille and
Mahdavi’s wooden Starr table
in the bedroom, boldly patterned bedlinen by the French contemporary designer India Mahdavi combines beautifully with the room’s original neoclassical details, a wall-mounted sconce by the French lighting designer Serge Mouille and Mahdavi’s wooden Starr table
The ideal finishing touch in the bedroom is the dramatic artwork above the bed by the Peruvian contemporary sculptor Aldo Chaparro
The ideal finishing touch in the bedroom is the dramatic artwork above the bed by the Peruvian contemporary sculptor Aldo Chaparro
A sunburst mirror by the French mid-century designer and jeweller Line Vautrin contains a reflection of the bedroom
A sunburst mirror by the French mid-century designer and jeweller Line Vautrin contains a reflection of the bedroom

The tribal figurines are a relatively small collection, but a very special one that was begun when de Bayser received the first piece as a gift. These pieces serve as a link to the history of modern art in France, with their influence on artists such as Constantin Brancusi and Pablo Picasso having been well documented. Like his ceramics collections and his books, these pieces bring a unique and personal feel to the apartment which, according to de Bayser, is very important to him.

A born collector, de Bayser readily confesses to being in constant pursuit of pieces from time to time by his favourite designers and artists. Naturally, he also tends to need new points of focus now and then: his large collection of ceramics by French mid-century ceramicist Georges Jouve was begun in part, because “I had no space for any more furniture,” he admits.

The small but elegantly proportioned
bedroom looks out over the adjacent park.
Classical period mouldings are paired with
sweeping curtains that nicely offset mid-century
modern furniture
Original neoclassical
details and mid-century
modern
elements combine to
glamourous effect in
the bedroom
The standing lamp
by Serge Mouille and
the wooden stool by
Charlotte Perriand
follow a similar
palette
de Bayser on
a 1966 classic Lounge
chair by Warren
Platner for Knoll
 

The smaller space... feels spacious and expansive. this is the result of the Building’s elegant ‘Bones,’ which include high ceilings that make for light-filled rooms

De Bayser also masterfully articulates what makes a variety of mid-century modern designs special. For example, speaking of French lighting designer Serge Mouille, who created the wall-mounted and standing lamps that feature in the apartment’s interiors, he explains that Mouille’s work has a very industrial feel—it is made of cast metal with angular supporting arms—yet the shapes of the lampshades are subtly curved, and have a softer touch than many other industrial-style pieces. The result is “something much more sensual and interesting,” says de Bayser.

A true pied-à-terre, this petite and well-thought-out Paris apartment is a ‘foot on the ground’ second home for whenever the owner pops into town for a limited amount of time. It makes for an ideal base from which to savour some of the finest things that the City of Light has to offer.

  • Styling Sven Alberding / Bureaux
  • Photography Greg Cox / Bureaux

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