Le Cabinet Privé

My office for many years in Paris was a corner space created by Florence Lopez and Christian Liaigre.

Eugenia Melián. 21/01/2015
Photos curtesy of Neil Bicknell
Photos curtesy of Neil Bicknell
Photos curtesy of Neil Bicknell

When I finally managed to lease it after years of staring at it longingly from the street , I inherited a decrepit glory which had not been touched since 1948 .  Even the land phone was rotary !     The 2 cellars were so clogged up with rubbish that when clearing up I found , amongst other things, a set of 1954 white leather and chrome Florence Knoll  sofas which I cleaned up and used and used . I also found a unique art book for the blind edited by Delaunay .

A fantastic architect friend of mine Philippe Diani , injected a lot of love and magic into the space and restored it back to its old splendor whilst leaving intact its artistic and poetic vibe. My new office became the space of my dreams . I had never  occupied a commercial space like this one before . It was practical and yet very eccentric , a combination of modern and baroque, of Andalusian and Parisian.

The unique volumes and location 3 doors down from the Hotel Matignon and the residence of the Prime Minister gave it a louche prestige in sharp contrast with the activities of the place. No one really knew what went in those offices, what we sold, what we did , but the gendarmes posted 24/7 in front of our storefront had a great time ogling the models that came in and out every day for various castings.

Photos curtesy of Neil Bicknell

I was sad to let go of it when I eventually left Paris and told my friend, antiques dealer and decorator Florence Lopez , that she should take it asap as her showroom. She did not . Subsequently I informed Christian Liaigre about it and he took it immediately since his offices and shop were in the same building. Imagine my surprise when exactly 10 years later Florence informs me of her unique collaboration with Liaigre , in my beloved ex headquarters!

I ran to visit it and was stunned by the beauty and sensuality of her “installation “ and so happy to set foot again in this magical space after so many years. It was also very inspiring to see how she had made respectful use of the light , space, volumes and textures knowing that the facade of the building it is in is a Paris landmark , the walls are whitish , the main door petrol blouand crumbling.

This is what Florence says of the collaboration: Christian Liaigre and I wanted to start a partnership and create a Particular Place in one of his showrooms, an environment which incidentally resembles my atelier in the Rue de Dragon  because of its light and volumes. This space is at number 61 Rue De Varenne , corner with the rue de Vaneau. The idea was to start an Antiques department for Maison Liaigre which is opening showrooms all over the world , from London to New York, Miami, Singapur , Hong Kong. 

Photos curtesy of Neil Bicknell

This first Antiques Décor place is a particular decor , we wanted an antiques gallery which resembled no other , an intemporary Salon in the heart of the 7 th arrondissement in Paris , accessible by appointment only and most importantly a setting which mixed both our personalities : On one side Christian Liaigre who has been creating  furniture for 30 years , pieces with authentic and pure lines , and on the other myself, Florence Lopez , antiques dealer with a whimsical and bohemian touch.

We wanted to play with the contrasts , with the anti-theme , in order to surprise ourselves and surprise our aficionados. I did emerald walls and ceiling and a décor wall inspired by a 1918 car decorated by Sonia Delaunay. I then mixed 3 bronze side tables signed by Liaigre with antiques that I choose for my friend Christian.

A private cabinet – salon  with Secession , Art Deco , Arts & Crafts and  Modern paintings from the 1960’s  : a kind of Tchekov – Mitteleuropa ambiance , a very unusual and  intimate place in Paris . The result is “soulful” as has been described by visitors to the space. I invite you to come visit this Private Cabinet where all the pieces are for sale and where the set will be renewed each year.

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