Art Deco Treasure : 7 rue Méchain - Paris

Robert Mallet-Stevens : 7 rue Méchain in Paris

No. 7 rue Méchain in Paris hides the unique building of architect Robert Mallet-Stevens enrolled in the french inventory of historical monuments. Designed between 1928 and 1929, this building is the only collective dwelling designed by Robert Mallet-Stevens.
This apartment building of 14 apartments was built at the request of the owner Jean Deschamps.

The building on the street, already existing, does not report the existence of a Mallet-Stevens building which was built in the backyard. It is through this building that we accessed to this unique Mallet-Stevens creation.
Here we find the architect’s repertoire : game of volumes, ratio of full and empty spaces, angles windows, large horizontal windows, rooftop terraces…
This parisian building designed and built by Robert Mallet-Stevens in 7 rue Méchain offered shelter at Tamara de Lempicka in a studio duplex apartment. She is active here at least until 1950.

Tamara de Lempicka Studio

Tamara de Lempicka

Tamara de Lempicka

It was at this address, 7 rue Méchain, that Tamara de Lempicka set up her studio.
The artist, of Polish origin, settled in Paris in 1918.
Emblem of Art Deco, she unleashes chronic with her bisexuality, her paintings and nudes sometimes very provocative and her image of the modern woman, independent and emancipated.
In this large studio designed by Robert Mallet-Stevens, Tamara de Lempicka created many of the works that made her famous, such as “The Sleeping Girl”, “Young Lady with Gloves”, “Adam and Eve”, “The Blue Scarf” and much more…

In 1928, Tamara de Lempicka acquires this vast space, created by Mallet-Stevens in 7 rue Méchain in Paris, which she entrusts the decoration to the architect. Then, he worked with the best of their field : stained glass windows by Louis Barrillet, metal ramps signed by Jean Prouvé and lighting by the Atelier Jean Perzel.
Our floor lamp No. 15 was in the living room, installed as a work of art. The prestigious lamp 162, also created in 1928 by Jean Perzel, was put on the famous portraitist dressing table.

A place full of history which is still a superb example of the art of living of the Roaring Twenties enlightened bourgeoisie.

Lights on Normandie Liner & Sconces No. 650 The Normandie liner has left an indelible mark in history : it embodies the highest expression of what can be a dream ship. Beautifully designed, superiorly elegant, with amenities of a refinement and an unrivaled luxury, the SS Normandie was the largest and fastest ship of its time.

Normandie Liner

Sailing only four years, from 1935 to 1939, for the General Transatlantic Company, the Normandie Liner still remains a legendary ship. Indeed, it was, at the time, a real showcase for the France: the best technology, an unheard luxury and an impeccable service.
The Normandie Liner was also the fastest liner of its time. During its maiden voyage on May 29 1935, it finally gave France the famous Blue Ribbon, awarded to the liner crossing the Atlantic the fastest.
The best French craftsmen and the most renowned artists of the time were mobilized for the manufacturing and participated on the project, making the SS Normandie a work of unparalleled art. Every detail of this legendary ship made it the ship of all superlatives.

Jean Perzel & the Luxury Apartments

Speaking of high-end services, passengers of the first class had spacious suites and luxury apartments to live serenely that trip for a little less than four days. Each different from each other, these apartments and suites were designed in the same worries of details and luxury.

In the 30s, Jean Perzel reputation is such that he was responsible for illuminating the SS Normandie in particular these suites and apartments. Many Jean Perzel lightings illuminated the Normandie liner like our Sconces No. 650 that adorned the walls of a luxury apartment.
Sumptuous materials, in particular, the diamond cut glass slabs, supported by a fine bronze mounting. Like Normandie liner, it was created at a time when there was a true art of living.

Modèle 354 bis au Salon des Artistes Décorateurs

1933’s “Salon des artistes décorateurs”

Created in 1904, the “Salon des artistes décorateurs” (or SAD) is a parisian event bringing together, via a huge exhibition, all leading architects and designers of the moment and their new trends in term of decoration.
In 1933, we are at the peak of the Art Deco style and this 23th exhibition is an event that can not be missed, held from May 5 to July 9 1933 in Paris at the Grand Palais of the Champs-Elysées.
Leon Rosenthal, famous director of the Museum of Fine Arts in Lyon, author of historical books, but also critical militant and committed intellectual, wrote about this exhibition :

“Visiting this exhibition, so alive, so rich, give architects the joys reserved for any man of taste who love research and innovation. They will also find a high professional interest.”

Jean Perzel at the “Salon des Artistes Décorateurs”

Each year, the decorators and designers present furnitures, lamps and decoration which set the tone of modern decor.
In the years 20-30, the light is playing an increasingly important role in the field of a decoration. Therefore, the furniture sets are presented with lighting, such as those proposed by Jean Perzel, specially designed to highlight these decors.

354BISIn 1933, the master glazier Jean Perzel exhibited at the salon des artistes décorateurs some models of its manufacture. Journalists and visitors particularly noticed, among others, a beautiful ceiling lamp, real diffuser of brightness with a large diameter, made of many levels in white and pink enamelled glass. Very much appreciated, the ceiling light 354 bis used to adorn the port lounges of the cruise liner “Normandie”.
During this exhibition, Jean Perzel sets this model in a dining room decorated by architect Lucien Rollin as you can see in the photo to the top.

Plafonnier 601 à la Société des Nations

Jean Perzel and the lighting of the League of Nations

Jean Perzel received in 1928 the first prize in the lighting contest of Decorators and four first prize for its fixtures in 1936, including the magnificent ceiling light, model 601. Everyone loved, and still do, the elegance and pure forms of this creation : the cup in convex frosted ground glass of this luxurious ceiling light is sitting on a brass bowl, hung by a rod.
Moreover, we find this ceiling light in the Council Chamber in the Palace of the League of Nations in Geneva (later UN), inaugurated in 1936. This Council had, at the time, authority to deal with any matter affecting world peace.

When the Palace of the League of Nations was created, all the interior decorative lighting was entrusted to Jean Perzel whose fame increased day by day, following an international tender.
He realized for this project several models of sconces, chandeliers and lamps for different halls, galleries, offices and rooms. The Council Chamber is one of them and where we can still see today these Jean Perzel ceiling lights.
The Palace of the League of Nations is now one of the most evocative testimonies of architecture and decoration of the 30s, the Art Deco style.

Société-des-Nations

Cité Universitaire 509BIS

The Cité Universitaire

The Cité Universitaire in Paris, located in the 14th district – near the Atelier Jean Perzel – was created to unify, after the First World War, students from around the world. It has also been designed as a response to the crisis of student housing raging in Paris in the 20s.
The aim then was to “offer to French and foreign students good housing conditions and quality of education, but also an environment conducive to meetings and multicultural exchanges daily.”

The Lamp No. 509 bis

509 BIS chromeDesktop lamps being essential to work in good conditions, the lamp 509 bis was created in 1929 by Jean Perzel to equip students desks at the Cité Universitaire in Paris.
Essential accessory to illuminate their workspace, the lamp 509 bis, thanks to its innovative design and its swivel shades, brought them a true visual comfort.

It is still popular today, either as decorative lamp of collection, table lamp, desk lamp or lamp study.