” A LONDONER IN PARIS”: ‘SUR LA PLACE’ BOUTIQUE



 
Another serendipitous moment in A-Gent of Style‘s life!

As fate would have it, there is, only a few paw steps away for Ben and only a couple of strides for A-Gent of Style, a boutique hotel called Hôtel Recamier, situated on our little square next door to Eglise Saint-Sulpice, that has been revamped by one of my favourite contemporary French Interior Designers, Jean-Louis Deniot. Incredible.

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The hotel will have a feature of its own on this blog very soon but today A-Gent of Style would like to focus on ‘Sur la Place’, the cute and stylish boutique next door to the hotel also designed and curated by Deniot that sells the products you would find if you were a guest there – candles, tasselled key rings and other artefacts.


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I instantly recognised Deniot’s aesthetics: his mixture of 20th C and contemporary lighting (some of Italian inspiration, all dimly lit) and furniture (quite a few Scandinavian), either vintage or bespoke, natural fibres and textiles (upholstery, draping and rug), his masculine and neutral palette of greys, browns and off-whites, and also his love for polished or brushed metals.

Très chic indeed!



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“A LONDONER IN PARIS”: ‘MERCI’ STORE





Since its opening in 2009, A-Gent of Style never fails on his annual trip to Paris to pop in Merci, the concept store on Boulevard Beaumarchais in the trendy Oberkampf neighbourhood.

Truth be told, I love walking around Merci more than the actual retail therapy experience and since London hasn’t got a similar kind of store, like L.A has plenty of for instance, it’s always a treat to come back and see what new quirks Merci has to offer.


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Situated in an 19th C 16,000-square-feet fabric factory, Merci is a mecca of iconic, innovative or emerging designs, some vintage, set in an artfully composed, contemporary space on different levels, in a vast and airy loft made of wood, concrete and steel (with lots of Crittal doors, windows and skylights – happy days) offering various products ranging from furniture, fashion (for women, men and children), jewellery and gardening to household items and beauty through to stationery but also a flower shop, cosy tearoom-cum-library, street-side eaterie and, for only 10 days in June, a pop-up hotel, Hotel Droog from Amsterdam.


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Created by Marie-France and Bernard Cohen, founders of renowned children’s clothing line Bonpoint, Merci donates all of its proceeds (after breaking even) to a foundation that will help underprivileged women and children.



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The mascot of the store: the vintage shiny red Fiat 500.


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“A LONDONER IN PARIS”: HICKS-TATIC





…and ecstatic, two very good words to describe the day A-Gent of Style experienced last week in Paris.

As I was wandering through the streets of Saint-Sulpice with my friend’s dog Ben,
I turned a corner into Rue de Tournon, a few steps from our apartment and
Les Jardins du Luxembourg. Unbeknownst to me, I stumbled upon a shop (at number 12) which subtle and discreet name letters on the wall made me go back on my steps and realise that this wasn’t any shop. It was the David Hicks France shop. And nothing or noone had prepared me for this.



Now when you are an interior designer, David Hicks’ name resonates with many things. The late illustrious English interior decorator has been one of my decorating heroes for some time now and his legacy and reputation are second to none. His influence has also had an impact on many accomplished designers over the past decades. I know for instance my previous boss Veere Grenney is an avid admirer – he now owns Hicks’ stunning 18th C Palladian folly ‘The Temple’ in the country.

As I stepped into the shop, I felt as if my senses had been ‘assaulted’. Suddenly, I was enveloped in an hallucinatory ‘Hicks-esque’ microcosm, a kaleidoscope of vibrant, garish, saturated colours, patterns and textures, a pumped-up universe of kitsch and sophistication.

And if you are an admirer of, say, only 18th C heavily-gilded Rococo, Bierdermeier, Jean Prouvé or any form of minimalism, avert your eyes now!




This boutique was created in 1973, opposite the original Saint Laurent Rive Gauche boutique (that A-Gent of style featured in All About Yves), to offer the sophisticated Parisian circles the groovy Hicks look that enraptured London in the 1970s. It is now the only Hicks shop remaining in the world. Why can’t we have one in London?? Next time you are in Paris, make sure you pay it a visit. It’s heaven!

Since its opening, David Hicks France has offered a plethora of products from the David Hicks archives and brand – furniture, lighting, wallpapers, fabrics – thanks to the passion and genius of current creative director Christophe d’Aboville and manager Marie-Dominique Cunaud who have tirelessly promoted the look and the name and re-interpreted Hicks’ rich design heritage for the last decade or so.


It was so exciting to share my passion with the delightful Marie-Dominique who could not have been any more welcoming or nice. She even took me to their next door art gallery where they exhibit contemporary pieces of art in a ‘Hicks-esque’ setting.



David Hicks
(1929-1998) was a complete decorating maverick who revolutionised interior decoration back in the 1960s and 1970s and his vision was truly unique. Back in the day, his interiors must have looked ever so daring, unusual, radical and ultimately modern. I think he particularly excelled at mixing antiques furniture with his now iconic layers of clashing colours, highly geometric patterns, contrasting textures and his extravagance, sophistication and intelligence.



Here is a selection of David Hicks legendary and carefully arranged interiors with his compositions of objects and artworks, or “tablescapes” as he liked to call them:



“Often imitated, never duplicated”

Some of Hicks’ iconic graphics and their modern re-interpretations:



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And finally, if you want to know more about the decorating legend, I can’t recommend enough this fantastic book by his son Ashley Hicks:




Some treasurable oldies:





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