In the VII arrondissement of Paris, at 82 rue de Lille, French charm and Italian soul merge behind a directoire façade in light-colored stone
In the middle-class heart of the VII arrondissement, with its French charm and Italian soul, JK Place Paris has become the new must of Paris Rive-Gauche. Hidden behind a façade directoire in pale stone, in rue de Lille 82, nearly at the crossing with Boulevard Saint-Germain, it has recently opened, a stone’s throw away from Saint-Germain and its Cafeterias, Musée d’Orsay and the bright metaphysics of Place du Palais-Bourbon, where the Assemblée Nationale colonnade overlooks.
JK Place, the Italian Hotel Group and member of The Leading Hotels of the World, launches in Paris with a five-star boutique-hotel of twenty-nine rooms and suites. The building renovation (up until recently a diplomatic residence) and the décor project have been curated by the Florentine architect Michele Bönan, who is behind the JK Places in Florence, Capri, and Rome.
It has taken five years, tells Ori Kafri, in 2003 co-founder other than co-owner of the luxury brand JK Place, to find a location that wholly met all the standards requested. «In the French capital there are many hotels historicized – continues Kafri –, we had to find a distinctive location». At the last, the building hosted a consulate, but in the half of the nineteenth century it was the home of the Parisian poet, historian and writer Alphonse de Lamartine, one of the main representatives of the Romanticism beyond the Alps.
On the other side of the street have lived Stendhal, the dandy Boni de Castellane, and the art collector André Bernheim, who had settled in an apartment decorated in 1921 by Louis Süe, in 1919 promoter with André Mare of the Compagnie des arts français. Around the corner, with its covered neo-Egyptian walkaway and its historical memories, is the Hôtel de Beauharnais 1871 where the Germany Ambassador had lived.
Michele Bönan declares he has immediately perceived the potentialities of the building, and complied with its suggestions, turning it into a literary compendium of Parisian style from the twenties to the first seventies of the twentieth century. «Many of the decor pieces in the common rooms or in the bedrooms — explains Bönan — I have drawn them specifically, in the search for a common language. Objects, paintings, wall lamps and chandeliers, sculptures, and pieces of furniture, I have patiently searched for them from antique dealers or in my peregrinations at Puces of Saint-Ouen. Bearing in mind a central idea: the sign of Jacques Adnet and Poillerat, of Ruhlmann, of Maison Jansen or the geometric sixties style by David Hicks».
«From a relief in plaster déco we have created the ‘Picassian’ molders that compose the wainscoting of the snug room at the right side of the cafeteria. Elsewhere, in the parietal ornamentation, there are echoes of Jean-Michel Frank poetry or of the Coromandel shields dear to Mademoiselle Chanel. Gradually inspirations and contributions from different époques and styles reveal themselves».
«The Parisian mood remains the load-bearing axis of the whole project intervention. The restaurant, managed by Casa Tua — a success of the high Italian gastronomy in the US, thanks to its two offices in Miami and Aspen, Colorado — is within a jardin-d’hiver rétro. Covering in glass, ashlar ivory slightly outlined, striped curtains Direttorio, and panels of papier-peint Chinoiserie in style Fifties, which revisit the Rococo. Here the reference is the antique dealer and interior designer Madeleine Castaing, the Parisian ‘star of mahogany’, the versatile grand dame, dead centenarian, who has been actress of silent films, friend of Modigliani and Soutine, muse of Derain, Poulenc, and Cocteau».
«The enormous carpet of the entrance room, reminding of those modernists that in the first Thirties Ivan da Silva-Bruhns made for Maharaja d’Indore, revokes the fragmentary composition and the contrasting colors of a great informal painting hung in one of the settings at the ground floor. Everywhere, ancient marble chimneys burning and great flower bouquet, opulent Chinoiseries, classicist plasters, antiquarian Murano glasses, and African sculptures. The surrealistic attic invented by Le Corbusier in 1929 for Charles de Beistegui blends with the historicist patterns of Emilio Terry, the pictorial brightness of Bernard Boutet de Monvel intertwines with Helena Rubinstein’s taste for African ancestral cultures and the cubism, as shown in her Parisian home in Rue de Béthune. In substance — concludes Michele Bönan — it is more than a simple hôtelier approach. Here we wanted to vibrate the atmosphere of a private home, sophisticated and sedimented with culture and memory, in order to give life to an enchanting enclave of comfort and beauty in full Paris».
The service ‘pension de Luxe’ is adapted ad hominem, based on each guest stay times and organization — always with discretion and privacy, a gourmand touch, books of art and catalogs everywhere, and the fragrances of Lorenzo Villoresi, Florentine nose, to perfume the rooms, each one different from the others and characterized as a unique microcosm. On demand, guests may opt for visits in special or unforeseen places, or a night excursion at the Halles di Rungis, or a dîner on the Seine on board of a private bâteau-mouche.
With the young director Riccardo Ortogni as a constant presence, ready to satisfy any desire of his guests. That JK Place Paris is a different place and a corner set apart and suspended is immediately evident when you enter the access court, beyond the majestic railing and the curtains green Empire. There, a white marble fountain gurgles and it immediately looks like to go back in time. The atrium plays with the classic Parisian grand décor: the black and white chessboard pavement, a scenographic console Poillerat in wrought iron, a bergère in leather cognac masterfully consumed, and some busts guarding the soft development of the stairway.
The rooms are equipped with graphical canopy beds in mahogany, blankets and bed sheets in linen with embroidered logos and wardrobes in Macassar ebony and bronzum. In the bathrooms in Apuani Calacatta marble furniture in mother-of-pearl and steel, with a slightly retro taste. In the basement the spa, managed by Sisley, next to the mosaic swimming pool, for the Hôtel clients use only, who can benefit from treatments for face and body in cabin. In the wellness zone there is a GYM perfectly baptized and contained in a room enveloped by cherry wood of japonisant inspiration, together with the hammam and the Turkish bath.
The restaurant Casa Tua at J.K. Place Paris — equipped with Antico Ginori furniture — follows the groove of a revised Italian tradition, under the guidance of the Apulian chef Michele Fortunato. Must-try: ‘l’Americano’ and ‘il Negroni’ by barman Davide. The covering of the walls of the cafeteria in candid plaster– the top on the counter is a unique piece of veined marble — simulates the movement of a textile covering. Whereas all-around vintage pictures stand out.
The fabrics, velvets, imprimées, and silk dévorées, belong to Dedar collections. The ivory palette and pearl grays, from greige to butter, to the warm tones of chocolate and tobacco, enriches itself with violet and green ottanio nuances, the strength of yellow suna nd blue sapphire. The JK Place Paris hotel is the place where the belle vie of which Sacha Distel sang in a pop success of mid-Sixties encounters the eternal Italian magic of La Dolce Vita.
82 Rue de Lille