Wood Ribbon Apartment by Gabrielle Toledano

This contemporary apartment located in Paris, France, has been designed in 2018 by Gabrielle Toledano.


This Appartment is a typical Haussmanian Parisian one with its mouldings, fish bone parquet and a linear long balcony.

The whole concept was to create some contemporary architecture, a light element that would allow to preserve all the existing historical elements that confer a strong character to the place while unveiling new uses and a new appreciation of space, suited to its 21st century inhabitants.

Preserving the layers of history while giving a strong contemporary identity. That was the challenge.

The answer to that is a wood ribbon that circulates through the bearing molded walls. All along its curves, the wood is an inhabitable wall /sculpture, like an installation, that dissimulates the entrance to the rooms and bathrooms, creates niches for storage or for the kitchen and so on. The ribbon is lower than the ceilings in order to keep the signs of the former historical layout plan.

Along with the carpenter, we created walls entirely made of wood, from the rails inside, cut with a lasercut to the curved surfaces manufactured with moulds. All the walls were pre- fabricated and assembled at the carpenter’s workshop and then reassembled onsite within a day. It was a real challenge. Also because the budget was tight.

The clients are a young family of three with a baby. The layout plan became quite obvious once I released myself from the constraints imposed by the original partition walls that we decided to demolish entirely and mouldings on the ceilings that would be preserved no matter the shape of the new partition wooden walls. On one side, the master suite, with the bedroom, open bathroom and dressing room and on the other side the children area, with a bedroom and a bathroom.

The two parts of the ribbon define these two areas of the apartment. In between, the void creates tensions but also openings. A narrow corridor separates the entrance from the wide and spacious common spaces : the living room and the kitchen and dining room.. The materials along the wood ribbon are bendable wood, left very natural and in the niches, brass and travertin. In the master bathroom, the luxurious grey onyx mixes up with the young and relaxed feeling given by the plywood, whereas in the children area, the materials are bright and playful with white and orange resin. The ceiling is made of alveolar polycarbonate to provide some natural light and impart a fun twist to all the areas behind the wooden walls except for the bedrooms.

Photography by Salem Mostefaoui

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- by Matt Watts

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