Author: Judith Miller
Photographer: Tim Clinch
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Date: November 1998
Frédéric Méchiche: pgs 158-163
Left: The Napoleon III chair and stool in the library are upholstered in a striped fabric - a fashionable pattern in late 18th- and early 19th-century French Neoclassical interiors.
"As far as the Directoire style is concerned, Frédéric Méchiche...has long admired its sober, severe lines, and he finds the architecture and furnishings of the final years of the 18th century very contemporary in tone, marrying perfectly with modern art and interiors." --Barbara Stoeltie
When the prestigious French decorator, Frédéric Méchiche, bought his Parisian residence in the center of the French capital, it consisted of three nondescript apartments on two floors of an old building that had been given a glass-and-aluminum face-lift in the 1960s. The transformation into what, internally, has the appearance of a two-story Directoire-style townhouse is attributable to Méchiche's enthusiasm for late 18th-century French Neoclassicism and to his eye for authentic period detail. However, the "house" also accommodates fixtures, furnishings, and artifacts derived not only from other Classical styles and periods, but also from the vocabularies of art and ornament that are as diverse as Ancient Egyptian, Persian, native African, and 20th-century Surrealism.
Above: Frédéric Méchiche's Directoire-style interior also incorporates pieces of art and funiture, such as this 1940's chair by René Prou, sympathetically chosen from other periods and styles.
Above: Neoclassical elements in the hallway include a geometric-pattern tiled floor, a late 18th-century faux porphyry (variegated stone) urns.
Right: Surrounded by early 19th-century Empire-style chairs, two tables with X-frame and tripod bases recall Ancient Greco-Roman-style furniture. The rock crystal chandelier dates from the 18th century.
The successful integration of what in many instances are heavily contrasting styles of design into a Directoire setting can be largely explained by the essential characteristics of the Directoire style itself. Fashionable in France from the end of Louis XVI's reign (1795), and enduring until the burgeoning of empire style in the early 19th century, Directoire style is pared-down, sparsely ornamented and a rather sober form of Neoclassical decoration that has a very contemporary feel. This is clearly evident in the painted wall-paneling and in the oak parquet, stone-and-marble and limed-board floors. All salvaged from late 18th-century Parisian houses, these, together with other prominent architectural fixtures and fittings, such as a Louis XVI-style wood-and-iron staircase and Directoire-style windows, display a clarity of line that provides an uncluttered and complementary backdrop...
Labels: Frédéric Méchiche