This project had to be the easiest commission I have ever had, particularly due to my aesthetic affinities with the clients. We share a taste for low-key luxury, an interest in art and a love for things well made, all of which immediately had us on the same wavelength. The challenge was to transform a five-level house in the style of Upstairs Downstairs, the British TV series – into a showcase for contemporary art and refined Italian design. This gave me an occasion to take my search for clean elegance to its logical conclusion : creating luxury out of space itself.
The work began with the task of eliminating all the “parasites” from the space. Partitions that where keeping the space from breathing where re- moved, service corridors where eliminated , and changes that made over the years by different owners, were erased.
Throughout the house, the zero tolerance for visual clutter meant hiding utilitarian devices. Air conditioning vents and returns were concealed between the ceiling and the corniche, convector grill slipped into win- dow sills, light switches and electrical outlets eliminated in favour of home automation.
Once space and light had been conquered, a dialogue needed to be established with the history of the house. I decided then to anchor the modernity in a subtle remembrance of things past.
This house is a radical alternative to decorated interiors, yet it is unforgettable. In spaces liberation is okay if it has to do with transparency and light, the art becomes charged with emotion, and the rare pieces of furniture help underscore the quality of the space. A sense of peace reigns throughout, a welcome respite that lets the spirit relax and the imagination wander .
After the project, I felt that I could retire. Which I did not of course, I am led by the passion of creation that brings me joy and happiness .
– Rene Desjardins
(Excerpt from KA Magazine interview with Rene Desjardins)