Design Notes Archive

Musée des Arts Décoratifs

Musée des Arts Décoratifs

Where couturiers have fashion week, purveyors of design have Maison & Objet, the influential Parisian trade show that is a breeding ground for new ideas, products and trends. It’s just wrapped and after a memorable side-trip to the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris is still lingering heavily on our mind.

The museum re-opened a few years ago after a 10-year, 35-million-Euro restoration and the buzz hasn’t stopped since.  Aside from housing an impressive collection of furniture and decorative arts spanning medieval times to the present day, it boasts 10 jaw-dropping period rooms.  Perhaps most talked about is the Art Deco apartment of legendary fashion designer Jeanne Lanvin. Designed by Armand Albert Rateau in the 1920’s, the boudoir, bedroom and bathroom have been painstakingly reassembled inside the museum’s walls.  We, of course, are obsessed with the bathroom…

Though severe in some respects, there is something incredibly soothing about this space. Imagine how it used to glow in the light of a few flickering candles and the warmth that plush towels added nestled amongst those decorative bottles of Arpège. Word has it that Rateau was highly influenced by Pompeii and covered the floors with black and beige geometrics en hommage to the mosaics that adorn the ancient city.  Embellished bronze fixtures and an ornately carved marble wall top it off with a dash of joie de vivre – a spirit that cheerfully flows throughout the exhibition.

Photographs © Philippe Chancel/Musée des Arts Décoratifs and Massimo Listri/CORBIS