below an atrium in an Art Nouveau building
Montparnasse, on the left bank of the Seine in Paris’ 14th arrondissement, was one of the favourite districts of 19th and 20th century artists and intellectuals. The building is set between the Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art, the Giacometti Institute and Place-Denfert-Rochereau. Shortly after the building’s construction in 1905, post-Impressionist painter Henri-Martin painted decors, nudes, portraits and the Parisian rooftops right here, where his friends, Zola, Jaurès and painter Le-Sidaner, used to come and visit him. Today, the immediate proximity of the École-Spéciale-d’Architecture and the École-Camondo contribute to the artistic atmosphere, in which the district is steeped. Rue-Daguerre, with its shops, bars and restaurants, is but a stone’s throw away.
A short while after he moved in, Henri-Martin designed the decoration project for Arnaga, Edmond-Rostand’s villa in Cambo-les-Bains, now a museum, where it is possible to admire his large, colourful frescoes. The southern joy that characterised the work of Henri-Martin, originally from Toulouse, can be felt throughout this flat probably courtesy of its harmonious luminosity.
The building features rusticated masonry on the first two levels, ground and first floors, as well as semi-circular arched windows on the first and fifth floors. Sculpted corbelling and superb coloured mosaic floor tiles, featuring fleur-de-lis, in the building entrance hall are characteristic of a refined Art Nouveau style. Two vertical rows of protruding bay windows, with atria and slightly arched stained glass windows, span four levels.
The communal areas
The building’s wrought iron entrance door is protected via a numerical keypad security system. A second, inner, glazed door, protected via a code and a magnetic key, provides access to the main stairway and the lift. Each landing up to the sixth floor provides access to two flats. Facing one another, they are entered via double doors, painted in trompe-l’oeil to resemble oak wood. The stairwell is illuminated with daylight via windows on the intermediate landings between the floors. The stairway steps and landings are covered with a red wool carpet runner and the risers adorned with brass rods, harmonising the communal areas with the style of middle-class housing.
The 7th floor is reached by climbing the last flight of the main stairway.
The artist’s studio
The entrance hall
This artist’s studio is accessed via double doors, clad with painted panelling on the inside. On the left-hand side, another similar set of double doors open into a guest cloakroom. The underside of the mezzanine is L-shaped: on one side, it ends against the facade wall and, on the right-hand side, on the perpendicular wall featuring an opening, at the end, through which passes a spiral stairway.
Curved corbelling, at the intersection of the two segments forming the “L”, creates a balcony. Two round glossy poles support the mezzanine, the underside of which is fitted with a suspended ceiling, inset with a spotlight lighting system.
Living room area
The entire floor is covered with varnished Intsia exotic wood, laid in a strip pattern.
A picture window in the centre of the facade wall, featuring vertical uprights, enhances the workshop appearance, magnified by an atrium, ending under the ridge which goes up to a height of almost six metres. It is protected by an external slatted window blind. Two balconies, on either side of the picture window, can be reached via double French windows.
A bookshelf unit, set in an alcove, has a bottom cupboard, the ideal place for a television.
This room, with its sloping ceiling, varying from four to six metres high, is divided by a partial upper, mezzanine level, reached via a spiral stairway, with a polished aluminium structure and solid wood steps, the same colour as the parquet flooring.
A second bedroom could easily be created under the mezzanine, facing the entrance and including one of the balconies.
A kitchen area, under the mezzanine, is set back in relation to the wall also housing the studio’s entrance door. It is separated from the living room area by a solid wood, moulded bar, with two curved ends. Behind this perpendicular bar is a work surface, fitted with a sink and taps. Cupboards and a dishwasher are included below the work surface. The back wall is composed of glossy cupboard doors which notably conceal a refrigerator and a freezer.
The independent cooking area is reached via a glazed door from the kitchen area behind the bar which isolates it from the living room. An electric cooker, with rings and an oven, as well as a work surface under which is a washing machine and a tumble-dryer are fitted into this area.
A panelled door, similar to the entrance door and that of the guest cloakroom, opens into a lobby, housing a wash-hand basin and a cupboard, which could become a shower. Another door opens into a toilet which also includes a cupboard concealing the gas-fired boiler, responsible for heating and domestic hot water.
The floor on this level is also covered with varnished Intsia exotic wood, laid in a strip pattern, thus enhancing the unity of the premises and accentuating the sculptural quality of the rooms.
Mezzanine looking down on to the living room
The steps of the spiral stairway go up to this area, overlooking the spacious living room, protected by stainless steel guardrails. The end wall, perpendicular to the facade, is lined with floor-to-ceiling cupboards. A window provides a view of the Montparnasse and Eiffel towers. A large study area and a hallway are separated from the bedroom section by a wide sliding door.
The bedroom, with its sloping ceiling, is illuminated via a roof dormer and laid out as a suite. On the left-hand side is a fully panelled dressing room. On the right-hand side, a bathroom, also with a sloping ceiling, is greatly illuminated and aired via a skylight. It is fitted with a bath, a wash-hand basin on a chrome pedestal, reflecting the cruise liner style, and a toilet. The walls are covered with white ceramic tiles, with an equally white, moulded frieze running around the room.
The air-conditioning system blowing cool air from below the suspended mezzanine ceiling keeps this area at a comfortable temperature.
Light is the magical ingredient for an artist’s studio. And how better to capture it than by living, as it were, on the roof of a building? In this case, a wonderful building dating from the 1900’s, crowned with a discreet tiara. Up there, where the atria and the large windows totally fulfil their role. An architect’s clever conversion has transformed these premises from Henri-Martin’s workplace into an impressive airy flat, where it is easy to move between the two levels. Although functional, it could be further transformed, for example, with the creation of a second bedroom. Good use has been made of every nook and cranny, without altering its superb appearance. All of which goes to prove that the air of creativity which attracted so many artists to Montparnasse is still there today.
1 785 000 € Negotiation fees included
1 700 000 € Fees excluded
5% TTC at the expense of the purchaser
|Number of rooms||3|
|Number of bedrooms||1|
|Possible number of bedrooms||2|
|Living space||90 m2|
|Number of lots||46|
|Annual average amount of the proportionate share of expenses||4840 €|
Guillaume Naa       +33 1 42 84 80 85
NB: The above information is not only the result of our visit to the property; it is also based on information provided by the current owner. It is by no means comprehensive or strictly accurate especially where surface areas and construction dates are concerned. We cannot, therefore, be held liable for any misrepresentation.