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Elle Decor Italia

An intriguing solution to separate the living from the sleeping area in a Paris open-plan penthouse

Voltaire project: Studio Sabo devises a stunning anodized aluminum island concealing the apartment’s most private areas

Alexandre Delaunay

A central island made of anodized aluminum sheets houses the sleeping area and bathroom in this raw style, brutalist mini penthouse in Paris center 

Are you grappling with the partitioning of an open-plan apartment? Well, if surfaces do not happen to be particularly large, and you wish to separate the sleeping area from the living, you can surely get some useful inspiration from the Voltaire project by Studio Sabo. The small penthouse on which the Paris-based studio founded and managed by Alexandre Delaunay has been working is located within a 1920s industrial building, in the French capital’s 11th arrondissement. Its brutalist, fair-faced concrete interiors have been redefined thanks to a central island that enables to divide the flat’s different areas, at the same time managing to maintain a perfect vertical and horizontal flow in this barely 80 sqm open-plan apartment without the need to use real partition walls. The island cladding consists of a series of custom-punched anodized aluminum sheets that create a contemporary design pattern, and, thanks to a skillful sequence of perforations, offer the possibility to create different lighting settings and ensure complete privacy protection. Completed last July, the project features a main living space, illumined by large industrial windows and connected to an open-plan kitchen. Brutalist concrete pillars and ceilings create a stunning juxtaposition with simple, light colored furnishings: a soft sofa, light wood furniture and wooden plank flooring, modern paintings resting with perfectly French nonchalance on long low, gray-painted radiators. The same gray shade characterizes the sofa and a small but thick carpet. Placed just behind the sofa, the square-shaped brushed aluminum partition immediately creates a subtle suspense throughout the flat’s interiors. 

The mystery unveils as a few of the 40 aluminum sheets making up the partition, folding accordion-like, allow a glimpse of what is inside: a bedroom with bathroom, minimalist furniture solely enhanced by the beautiful plays of light and shade filtering through the perforated aluminum. A simple master bed, an ample white cupboard and a small, simple nightstand are the only furniture. 

The central island of this open-plan flat has a further secret, though: it helps concealing a mezzanine placed under the roof housing a second bedroom, just as much sober and Scandinavian-like as the underlying one, interfacing with the raw ceiling and gets light from the large windows of the main living space. And, speaking of the open-plan living area, we must dwell on the furniture of the beautiful open-plan kitchen. One section is occupied by white furnishings ideally streaming into the kitchen countertop, where their outline is interrupted by a tiled wall featuring blue & white motifs matching, in their turn, the modern tablecloth and its simple 1950s chairs. 

The kitchen area is visually divided from the main living space by a minimalist wooden chest, placed in front of a lightweight open bookcase set against the wall at the opposite end of the room. 




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by Paola Testoni / 6 December 2017


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