When jeweller Seiichi Takeichi and his partner Philippe, who works in finance, first set foot in this grand apartment in Paris’s 7th arrondissement, not far from the Assemblée Nationale and the Musée D’Orsay, it was a parody of French excess. ‘It was completely over the top,’ recalls Philippe, ‘like a set from Sofia Coppola’s film Marie Antoinette.’
A cacophony of pattern and chintz could not disguise the historic bones of this Haussmann building, however. From its lofty stucco ceilings and elaborate wood panelling to the marble fireplaces in every room, there was much to enchant Seiichi and Philippe, who moved here from New York in 2018.
The couple didn’t want to turn their new home into the kind of plain, white, gallery-like box they had seen across the French capital. ‘I just find that boring,’ says Philippe. ‘On the other hand, I didn’t want the Marie Antoinette look either!’ What they have created is an elegant compromise – a style Seiichi describes as ‘simple, but fun’.
Big changes include the addition of a contemporary kitchen and bathroom, but for the other spaces the most significant transformation has been a lick of paint. In the living room, the walls are now a shade of green that, according to Philippe, ‘people have described as the colour of Ladurée’. He believes it’s closer to sage than the signature sugary hue of the macaron makers, but, much like the furniture – which includes streamlined pieces by Jaime Hayon, Patricia Urquiola, Doshi Levien and the Bouroullec brothers – it was selected primarily for the sense of calm it produces.
‘You want the rooms and the art to attract your eyes, not the furniture,’ explains Philippe.
‘Eye-catching’ is one of the words that describes Seiichi and Philippe’s art collection. Another, admits Philippe, could be ‘controversial’. ‘I have some friends who like these pieces and others who hate them,’ he adds. ‘Our goal is not to own beige art.’ From the collage by Louisiana-born Marcus Kenney, who addresses issues of race in his work, to an ‘Astro Boy’ figurine by former graffiti artist KAWS (aka Brian Donnelly) and skeleton-like bronze sculptures by Brooklyn-based Eric Fertman, these are pieces that, says Philippe, ‘are always asking questions of you’.
This apartment may have come a long way under its new ownership, but one remnant of its past exuberance does remain. The toile de jouy in the bedroom, which once covered not just the walls but also the curtains, cushions and bedspread, has been invited to stay. After all, we all need a little flight of fancy every now and again. sei-takeichi.com
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