The Island by Clément Lesnoff-Rocard
Designed in 2020 by Clément Lesnoff-Rocard, The Island is a moderninst home located at the very foot of La Défense in Paris, France.
This project, initiated 3 years ago, could be considered as an antagonist allegory to the famous movie Cast away, lost on an island.
Located on the outskirts of Paris, at the very foot of La Défense, an otherworldly accumulation of oversized high risers, the house stood almost lost on the edge of a tiny little street that ends abruptly abutting the massive fundaments of a cluster of towers. This brutal situation, in between high density modernist utopia and the modestly grandiloquent 19th century architecture, emphasizes the feeling of being a tiny little Défense-less being. The house seemed like an oyster without a shell, lost in the ocean. Luckily it was articulated around a little exotically planted patio garden and we decided at the first visit with my partner Gil Percal that this house had to be protected from this outer predatory world, turning its back to the street and only looking at itself, its garden and its own qualities, yet to be found.
What a moment of divine beauty, when you make way for this other truth where your usual trivial facilities become natural elements. When your grey green tiled floor becomes shallow water. When your long concrete sofa becomes a sand beach where the water tickles your feet. When a massive oak tree table becomes the big tree around which you gather as a family. When a matte black kitchen becomes the charcoal you found in the burnt forest. When a towering library becomes the cliff you climb everyday, and the books in it become the stepping stones that help you get higher. When an oversized curtain becomes a waterfall, or even just the wind. When a white concrete curved bridge becomes a stratus, a low cloud, passing quietly above your head. When a gigantic bay window becomes nothing but the sky, with its sunsets and sunrises. When a wooden staircase emerging from the shallow water becomes the beginning of a path to go somewhere else, up the mountain, above the clouds.
Then you see it. It is your island, it is the island of everything. You can now close your book, put it back on the shelf and go for a walk in your garden, the real one.
Photography by Simone Bossi