Crussol, Paris

Looking for a new home for them and their baby, architects Ophélie and Edouard found Crussol Apartment; a 54sqm/581sqft mid-century home in the centre of Paris, surrounded by shops, restaurants and historic buildings.

The 54sqm apartment was designed by Space Factory, a multidisciplinary creative studio based in Paris founded by Edouard Roullé-Mafféïs and Ophélie Doria and is located 11th district, in the very lively, historic neighborhood of Oberkampf.

As their own clients, the designers were able to spend time finding the perfect home to meet their needs, looking for a home with ‘soul’ and found it in an old painter’s workshop in a mid-century building, falling in love with the windows and the potential that the space had.

The designers wanted to create a mood that worked with their (very different) preferred aesthetics. While Edouard prefers busy places with a lot of objects that tell stories. Ophélie is more attracted to open plans and simple lines. These polar views allowed them to come up with the concept ‘L’atelier rangé – dérangé’, translated as ‘the tidy and busy workshop’. This led to the creation of a hybrid open-plan layout using glass walls and the creation of busy zones in the bookshelves, the rock niche, and the kitchen shelves.

Despite varying views on aesthetics, both knew they wanted to maintain ‘the soul’ of the workshop, the glass windows are made in the same glass as the original windows of the apartment while the rough materials found under the plaster such as rocks, and bricks, and even the metal pole at the entrance have been preserved and featured.

The apartment is accessed via a door of a typical Parisian courtyard. When you enter the apartment, you face a glass wall made of the same glass as the original windows of the workshop. There, a custom pinewood wall hides a small closet with a bench at the bottom of it which serves as shoe storage.

The kitchen, the living and the dining are laid out in an open-plan layout. The idea was to maximize the living space (versus the night space). There is almost 30sqm of living space in an apartment less than double that size. Low storage has been custom-built all around the living room to keep the walls empty of bulky furniture. During the renovation, the designers discovered the white stones and bricks of the structure, deciding to disclose them as feature pieces.

The sleeping area is very compact with a queen-size bed, a closet and a bench. The bed has been custom-made in order to put storage under it. The bench hides a heater and it’s also a very nice way to add a sense of space and comfort. 

The bathroom sits just outside the bedroom. With no compromise on comfort, the bathroom features a shower, a bath, and a vanity unit; embedding the idea that small can also mean luxurious.

At the end of the ‘L’ shaped space sits the nursery, which used to be a double office (one on the mezzanine, the other one under it). It’s a small space but contains everything a nursery needs, a custom-made closet, some bookshelves, furniture with a bed, a changing table, and an armchair.

Space Factory has a design principle that they revolve around: ‘It’s not the square meters that matter, it’s what we do with them’. They call it, ‘le mètre carré ressenti’, which is translated as ‘the perceived square meter’. The idea is that every square meter does not have the same potential.

Their views on residential stock in Paris reflect their philosophy.

We think we can easily say that we increasingly experience a lack of space in our city. Paris is an expensive city and having space became a luxury. It’s very interesting to focus on what we can do with a space rather than its square meters. It’s actually the way we advise our clients: it’s better to have a smaller space well designed than square meters that are not useful.

Photos by Herve Goluza