An image of a bloody knee on the dining room wall isn’t everybody’s idea of mealtime company. But Rodolphe Parente isn’t everybody. And anybody even vaguely familiar with his work knows one thing for certain—to expect the unexpected. Bloody knees et al. Case in point: one particular Haussmannian apartment on Paris’ Canal Saint Martin where bare-bodied photographs and stone busts lay bare the glory of the human body.
When Rodolphe took the design reins, he was clear about preserving and restoring the home’s Haussmannian hallmarks. “That said, I wanted to give the interior a contemporary pulse with colours, furniture and artworks,” says the Paris-based designer who set up his eponymous interior design firm in 2009. The homeowner’s radical taste in art served as the natural point of departure, but infusing that zaniness into the home’s original shell did prove a bit of a challenge.
“Each new project involves a search for the right tone, and calls for sensitive reflection. It was important for me to keep the Parisian vibe as well as the clients’ bold aesthetic in mind. Marrying the two was hard but so worth it—I always strive to incarnate spaces that speak their own distinctive design language,” Rodolphe reflects.
The outré details get outré-er. In the foyer, a painting of a bikini-clad woman by Guy Yanai takes pride of place, while a semi-nude photo of lovers by Camille Vivier graces the dining area. The living room is equally curious, with a woman’s bust and an avian sculpture threatening to spring to life at any moment. In the office, meanwhile, gleaming hand-like sculptures adorn the desk, as if reaching out for something, or someone.
True to his signature—and in his own words, his penchant for “making people lose their perception of spaces and volumes”—the home flows like sunlight. Rodolphe reoriented the layout to create new passages of circulation and to invite the elements deeper inside.
Check the dictionary and you’ll find no translation for ‘contre-soirée’, a made-up French term loosely translated to ‘counter-party’. Of course, Rodolphe needed no dictionary to translate it into the interior. He created micro spaces that would revel in their own light, including a pastel pink kitchen and a wood-cocooned bathroom—something for each moment, something for every mood.
[Images courtesy of Rodolphe Parente. Photography by Giulio Ghirardi.]