When fashion designer Pierre Hardy and his husband Christopher Turnier (CEO of Hardy’s eponymous brand) stepped inside the Seine-gazing 17th-century hôtel particulier on Île Saint-Louis, they immediately felt like that would be their home. To transform such a historic location, the couple had no doubts, it had to be Vincenzo De Cotiis!
Even completely empty, the 2,000-square-foot apartment was bursting with life, as almost every inch of its soaring, nearly 15-foot ceilings were covered with elaborate mythological frescoes. Apollo looked down upon the entrance hall, while, in the living room, Juno, wife of Jupiter, and Aeolus, the Greek god of wind, lounged in the clouds, and Aurora, Roman goddess of dawn—resplendent amid a magnificent medley of cherubs and horses—presided over another room. The masterworks, attributed to the artist Bon Boullogne, best known for his easel paintings found at Versailles and the Louvre, were a serious selling point.
HArdy, before founding his own brand of high-concept kicks, and worked as a creative director at Hermès, and collaborated for Dior and Balenciaga, has always decorated his own homes. But this time, to usher the interiors into the 21st century, the couple called on the Milan-based Vincenzo De Cotiis, whose work they had long admired.
The space had very strong characteristics – so French and so classic – and we wanted to respect that history. I tried to join Pierre and Christopher’s contemporary style with the classical atmosphere. The paintings are the protagonists of the house. So the interior needed to be much more minimal.Vincenzo De Cotiis
Vincenzo De Cotiis took pains to create a home that would mesh with Hardy and Turnier’s lifestyle. The couple preferred spaces that could transform, day to day, so the artist carved out a series of salons, large, transitional areas for working, relaxing, eating, and entertaining, where they spend the most time.
Architecturally, there was what Turnier calls “a big cleaning.” They removed additions from the apartment’s most recent update in the 1970s and restored it to something closer to its original. Original parquet floors, elaborate bas-reliefs, and carved moldings were refurbished. But Vincenzo De Cotiis balanced that 17th-century classicism with distinctly modern touches: coating walls in plaster, cladding the petite galley kitchen in matte black fiberglass, lining floors in travertine. Also, silvered brass wainscoting was added to many of the rooms, which, along with a slew of mirrors, new and old, could reflect natural light as well as the surrounding architectural wonders.
Leaning for a minimalist style, the couple was an excellent foil to a handful of 18th-century antiques and slick custom furniture pieces designed by Vincenzo De Cotiis. In the bedroom, a cherub hovers in the clouds above prints by Sol LeWitt and a monumental custom bed Vincenzo De Cotiis made of hand-painted fiberglass. In the grand salon, custom brass-and-fiberglass tables mix with 18th-century armchairs, a silvered brass sofa, and marble 1960s lamps by Tobia Scarpa. The Daniel Arsham painting that gazes out from above the sofa feels like an apt metaphor for the whole place: history, refracted through a modern lens.
Hardy and Turnier found their perfect creative match in Vincenzo De Cotiis. They happily spend hours discussing the precise shade of black leather for the living-room sofa and recommended hand-painting a window-side sofa’s upholstery fabric to perfectly reflect the color of the Seine.