Few cities in the world – perhaps none – can rival Paris in terms of charm, offered to the inhabitants and also to the millions of tourists who crowd the streets and squares on a daily basis. The Ville Lumière manages to simultaneously be a cosmopolitan metropolis and a small village, combining enormous, modern spaces with narrow streets packed with allure and history. Every street in the French capital represents a different identity of the city. Different scents and colors that combine to give rise to a total emotion, a formidable sensation of unity.
Design in the streets and quarters of Paris
Always considered one of the most romantic places in the world, Paris is actually hungry for modernity, an urge that invades the streets, the rooftops, the classic façades and venues, along with the very new buildings created by internationally renowned starchitects.
In Marais, the noble heart of the Rive Droite, alongside 17th-century palaces we find art galleries, boutiques and venues in which to experience the city’s emphasis on fashion. Here you can see the Lafayette Anticipations space designed by OMA, the studio of Rem Koolhaas, and the Musée Carnavalet, recently renovated with the collaboration of the Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta.
Nearby, there are two projects that have triggered lively discussion: on rue de Rivoli the Samaritaine department store represents a grand operation of refurbishing, entrusted to the Japanese firm SANAA; a few minutes away on foot, the old Bourse now contains the Collection Pinault, opened less than a year ago but already a must for visitors (designed by another big Japanese name, Tadao Ando).
You can find design – lots of it – in the Louvre Palace: the Musée des Arts Décoratifs has a remarkable collection and organizes fascinating exhibitions. Like “Le design pour tous” (until 15/05), on the democratization of design taken forward since the 1960s by two major French retail chains, Prisunic and Monoprix.
The panorama of Paris also bears the signature of another leading Italian architect: Renzo Piano, creator together with Richard Rogers of Centre Pompidou, opened in 1977 and now a true symbol of the city. Piano has also designed the new courthouse, functioning since 2018 at the gates of the city, which has triggered widespread urban renewal in the surrounding zone.
Paris and Maison&Objet
For its next edition (24-28 March), Maison&Objet, the event dedicated to all things furniture and decoration, has prepared “In The City” for its visitors, a map/itinerary with 81 addresses that form the Parisian design ecosystem: art galleries, important fashion houses, exceptional artisans. The fair emerges from its pavilions and becomes a network of special places. The circuit also covers many designers: Charles Zana, India Mahdavi, Charles Tassin, Pierre Gonalons, Chahan Minassian, Christophe Delcourt, Gilles et Boissier (and the list could be continued). An initiative that doubles – in a different perspective – the Paris Design Week in September, another event created by Maison&Objet.
All this is joined by Paris Déco Off, a sort of “fuorisalone” on interior decorating, where the protagonists are fabrics and wallcoverings. The streets of Saint-Germain (Rive Gauche) and rue du Mail (Rive Droite), from 23 to 27 March, host this event that includes the participation of 90 leading brands, a happening that is famous by now among sector professionals and design lovers. Also – or perhaps above all – because in the evening everything comes alive with drinks and music (often live). A unique event that brings color to the city streets, in a festive, relaxing atmosphere.