Charles Zana Trades Popular Trends For Sober Eclecticism
French architect Charles Zana has a talent for creating bespoke interiors that defy seasonal trends and popular styles in favor of sober eclecticism as this Parisian residence attests. Housed in an 18th-century grand townhouse, in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, one of Paris’ most chic and intellectual neighborhoods, the meticulously renovated house showcases Zana’s sense of balance and orderliness, as well as his keen eye for mixing and matching ostensibly clashing pieces.
Unfolding over two floors, plus a basement level, the revamped interiors mix traditional and contemporary elements that hint at the building’s history and convey an unmistakably modern sensibility.
Coupled with a handpicked collection of decorative objects and modern artworks shrewdly displayed throughout the house, Zana’s masterful orchestration of architecture, art, and design make for a distinctly characterful house.
Zana transformed the entrance vestibule into an Art Deco-inspired, organically-shaped marvel, reconfiguring the ground floor into a free-flowing series of spaces, and sculpting a curvaceous staircase to connect them with the private quarters upstairs.
On the ground floor, restored hardwood flooring, exposed brickwork, and weathered steel I-beams crisscrossing the ceiling conjure the building’s architectural heritage while verdant views of the courtyard, which had been revamped by landscape designer Louis Benech, imbue the bright and airy space with a calming ambiance.
Dominating the open-plan living room, a large sculptural fireplace makes for a dramatic focal point, courtesy of its sweeping design and bronze finish, while a slender free-standing shelving unit discretely separates the sitting and dining areas without blocking any viewpoints. Sparsely furnished, the living areas are nevertheless a paradigm of eclecticism bringing together 20th-century classics.
Artworks can be found throughout such as French artist Laurent Grasso’s “Anechoic Walls” in the master bedroom upstairs. Mirroring the design of high-tech sound absorption panels, the polished copper piece stands out amid the bedroom’s light green painted walls. In the same room, a modernist metallic shelving unit is juxtaposed with a wooden writing desk, fur-lined settee, and custom-designed wooden partition allowing glimpses into the Calacatta Verde marble-clad bathroom.