A Whimsical Parisian Shoe Store By One of France’s Biggest Up-and-Coming Talents
Architect Sophie Dries has a certain knack for designing interiors that are superlatively, romantically Parisian. She’s known for striking renovations of classic, 18th-century apartments — frosted with elaborate crown moldings and rich with covetable objects, both contemporary and vintage — as well as more whimsical spaces, like her recent design of the Arturo Arita flower shop in the French capital, which includes a gallery wall “inspired by the Mannerist caves of the Italian Renaissance” that vaguely resembles packed snow. In short, laced with nostalgia but not at all beholden to any particular historical design trope.
Case in point: one of her latest projects, the Michel Vivien shoe store in Paris’s 8th arrondissement. The design of the store is relatively simple, in that it centers around a 50-foot-long undulating walnut wood wall pierced with glass and wooden floating shelves. But it is the art and objects — abstract, totem-like sculptures, stools by Pierre Chapo used as pediments for displaying shoes, plush velvet seating, and lighting by Jacques Biny and Charlotte Perriand — and the way she artfully arranges them that make the space so interesting. She’s also pulled subtle threads from Vivien’s practice and career and incorporated them into the design: the ochre-colored concrete floor resembles the shoe designer’s workshop, while a colorful eucalyptus fiber carpet was inspired by one of his paintings. Personally, I particularly like the amoeba-shaped Murano glass appliqué lights Dries had made especially for the shop, which provides a soft, cloud-like contrast to the heavy wood and strong forms.