A Vôtre Service
Alberto Pinto transforms a hôtel particulier in Paris into a handsome new atelier for his own design offices.
Henry Urbach -- Interior Design, 2/1/2001 12:00:00 AM
LOCATED ON THE rue d'Aboukir, in Paris's lively 2nd arrondissement, the new atelier of designer Alberto Pinto occupies a 17th-century hôtel particulier where Napoléon Bonaparte once spent several nights. More recently, the building served as the central offices for the daily French newspaper Le Figaro Madame. Pinto acquired the building last year and undertook a substantial renovation, which included a complete overhaul of the building's spaces, services, and surfaces. Overall, the project was meant to accommodate the office team, which recently grew to about 50 people, in a well-organized environment conducive to design work, meetings, and receiving clients. Pinto's formidable client list includes the royal families of Jordan and Saudi Arabia, President and Madame Chirac, the David-Weill family, and the Safra family, among other prominent figures.
Access to the U-shaped building is through a central court. Upon entry, one faces a two-story wing with a new glass facade that opens to the reception area, private dining room, and offices above. To either side are four-story wings with programmed spaces distributed along each level. The second floor contains fabric showrooms and a library, along with the offices of M. Pinto. The third floor holds an open studio for decorators and meeting rooms, while the fourth floor includes offices for architects, designers, and project managers. The top level is dedicated to a materials library and offices concerned with various licensing projects, including a line of fabrics with Nobilis and Limoges china for Raynaud.
Pinto renovated the grand central stair, maintaining a beautiful cast iron railing and adding new materials and freestanding objects at the landings. Throughout the space, Pinto introduced a mix of antiques along with found objects, contemporary office furniture and lighting, rugs from the Pinto collection, custom fabrics, and artworks by Antonio Valdès, Christian Bérard, Jean Cocteau, and watercolors by Pinto himself. According to the designer: "One can't really work in an oppressive environment. In order to make beautiful projects, one has to be feel a certain generosity of space."