The moment fashion designer Pierre Hardy and his husband Christopher Turnier (CEO of Hardy’s eponymous brand) set foot inside the Seine-gazing 17th-century hôtel particulier on Île Saint-Louis, they knew it would be their home. Vincenzo de Cotiis was the couple’s obvious choice for revamping such a historic location.
Even totally empty the approximately 2,000-square-foot apartment was bursting with life—elaborate mythological frescoes covered almost every inch of its soaring, nearly 15-foot ceilings. Apollo, robed in crimson, harp in hand, looked down upon the entrance hall. In the living room, Juno, wife of Jupiter, and Aeolus, the Greek god of wind, lounged in the clouds, while Aurora, Roman goddess of dawn—resplendent amid a magnificent medley of cherubs and horses—presided over another room. The masterworks, attributed to the artist Bon Boullogne, best known for his easel paintings found at Versailles and the Louvre, were a serious selling point.
Hardy, a creative director at Hermès who also designed shoes for Dior and Balenciaga before founding his own brand of high-concept kicks, had always decorated his own homes. But for this place, so steeped in history, the couple called on the Milan-based Vincenzo De Cotiis—whose work they had long admired—to usher the interiors into the 21st century.
Architecturally, there was what Turnier calls “a big cleaning.” They removed additions from the apartment’s most recent update in the 1970s and restored it to something closer to its original. Original parquet floors, elaborate bas-reliefs, and carved mouldings were refurbished. But Vincenzo De Cotiis balanced that 17th-century classicism with distinctly modern touches: coating walls in plaster, cladding the petite galley kitchen in matte black fibreglass, lining floors in travertine. Perhaps most significant, silvered brass wainscoting was added to many of the rooms, which, along with a slew of mirrors, new and old, could reflect natural light as well as the surrounding architectural wonders.
Vincenzo De Cotiis took pains to create a home that would mesh with Hardy and Turnier’s lifestyle. The couple preferred spaces that could transform, day to day, so Vincenzo De Cotiis carved out a series of salons—large, transitional areas for working, relaxing, eating, and entertaining—where they spend the most time.
The couple’s personal things lean rather minimalist, making them excellent foils to a handful of 18th-century antiques and slick custom furniture pieces designed by Vincenzo De Cotiis. In the bedroom, a cherub hovers in the clouds above prints by Sol LeWitt and a monumental custom bed Vincenzo De Cotiis made of hand-painted fibreglass. In the grand salon, custom brass-and-fibreglass tables mix with 18th-century armchairs, a silvered brass sofa, and marble 1960s lamps by Tobia Scarpa. The Daniel Arsham painting that gazes out from above the sofa feels like an apt metaphor for the whole place: history, refracted through a modern lens.
Hardy and Turnier found their creative match in Vincenzo De Cotiis. He was happy to spend long hours discussing the precise shade of black leather for the living-room sofa and recommended hand-painting a window-side sofa’s upholstery fabric to perfectly reflect the colour of the Seine.
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