Van Cleef & Arpels store in Paris by Jouin Manku
Astonishing staircases have become signature elements for Interior Design Hall of Fame member Patrick Jouin and his partner, Sanjit Manku. The stair for this boutique, next door to the original, is a witty wink at the grandeur of France’s ancien régime staircases.
One balustrade is a towering wrought-iron latticework based on the crisscross tracery of a butterfly wing. “Working on that staircase was a gigantic joy,” Jouin says, “like being a kid in a candy store.” The design is also a technical tour de force. With no visible means of support, the cantilevered steps sweep sinuously upward, reflected in mirrored walls.
The basic structure is composed of limestone blocks CNC-milled, pierced, and threaded with steel cable, Manku explains: “Then we tightened the living daylights out of them—until they were virtually a single piece.” All that occurred off-site, after which the stair was trucked in and squeezed through the entrance by a hair.
Throughout the 3,000-square-foot space, Jouin and Manku restricted the colors to white, cream, beige, gray, brown, and burnished gold and the materials to limestone, oak, polished nickel, glass, plaster, and silk, often used in unexpected ways. The partners are “always concerned with craftsmanship and artistry,” Van Cleef & Arpels president and CEO Nicolas Bos says. Just like jewelers.
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