Situated in Paris’ vibrant Latin Quarter and surrounded by iconic landmarks such as the Sorbonne and the Jardin des Plantes is Hôtel La Demeure, a boutique hotel run by the Cauet family. Although the hotel has been a hotspot for tourists since it opened about a decade ago, the Cauets knew they needed to revamp and rejuvenate. Cue Flavie Papin and Paul Jouan, a young design team based in Paris. Entrusted with the task of re-designing the hotel’s 37 suites and guest amenities, the pair has created a unique experience for guests where the quintessential characteristics of Parisian culture are honoured while a feeling of familiarity and comfort for guests is maintained.
We caught up with the design duo to learn the inspiration behind the redesign, to get a peek at the hotel’s décor highlights, and to find out what’s next for the pair.
What does the name La Demeure mean to you?
Flavie Papin: The “Demeure” in English means “the home;” the landmark where we like to relax and meet. It [represents] a feeling of safety and benevolence.
How would you describe the atmosphere of the hotel?
Paul Jouan: Fresh, bright, peaceful and cozy.
J: Accessible and surprising at the same time.
How did the fact that it’s a family business influence you?
P: The family was a source of inspiration—each member has his style and way of working. We have designed a place that resembles all three of them, where they’ll feel in harmony to work.
What is the mood of the neighborhood like?
J: The place where the hotel is located, for me, is a picture of an unpretentious Paris that is full of life. It’s the perfect place to catch a glimpse of daily Paris life, as you stroll through the area.
Tell me about the six themed suites. What inspired you to do this?
J: We expect a hotel to offer what we do not have at home…Gourmet suites offer a taste of wine and chocolates or champagne and chocolates that we have developed with a wine and chocolate sommelier, and who has not dreamed of having a theatre at home? When guests pick-up their room keys at the reception they will will also receive an iPad—this is the system’s remote control. By opening the dedicated application once in your room, the projector turns on, the giant screen comes down and you have access to a database of over 200 films translated into several languages. On the top floor under the roof, the suite called “Up There” is small and cozy, with a whimsical décor. The services offered here invite guests to discover a cosmopolitan Paris: a branded bag is offered to women for the duration of their stay, discount cards for the major department stores are offered, and a private driver is at your disposal to take you there.
Does the design of each room complement the theme? How?
P: Entering the “Suite Gourmande” is like taking a delicious dip in champagne. The suite’s gold galuchat wallpaper, iridescent linen curtains, mimic the libation while Urquiola lamps look like orange bubbles. A chandelier with crystal tassels and transparent Starck high chairs are an elegant nod to champagne glasses.
What is your design aesthetic and style?
P: I love when the aesthetics of an object serves a purpose and carries the essence of a story.
What made you decide to join forces and become partners?
J: After having done several scenography projects together, our association over the long term appeared obvious. The quality of the exchange and complementarity both in action and in thought led us to develop very distinct roles within the agency.
P: I like his moustache! I think we are both driven by the desire to help businesses to innovate and develop while offering powerful experiences for their customers.
What inspires you as designers?
J: Everyday images, photos I take myself and all those I could have taken. Food.
P: Others, relationships, play, poetry and art.
This was your first time redesigning an interior, correct? Tell me about the experience.
P: I loved thinking about the hotel as a place of experience; feeling welcomed and happy from the moment you cross the gate until the final packing.
What can we expect next from you both?
J: A beer museum in Alsace, and then an optician’s shop in Montmartre that we will present shortly.
P: Starting in January, we will present a series of wickerwork items for Playtime; the international children’s & maternity trade show in Paris, New York and Tokyo. We would love to do other hotels too!