Conservative restyling and retro charm

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In Chambéry, two French architects and interior designers from Atelier Piola have renovated a ‘50s apartment that preserves its atmosphere thanks to vintage touches and to stoneware in the Ghiara Palladiana decor. The result is a mix of different materials, combined with carefully chosen, balanced colour contrasts with a bohemian look

Redesigning the interior without affecting the atmosphere. The apartment in question dates back to the ’50s and was renovated by two French architects and interior designers, Léa Bruneau and Johane Jean, who founded their Atelier Piola studio in Paris.

The project is located in Chambéry, a French town that was once the capital of Savoy. This house is set against the backdrop of many cafés with outdoor tables, narrow boulevards and stately buildings, the famous Elephant Fountain and the beautiful Saint-François-de-Sales cathedral, as well as the Castle, the former residence of the Counts and Dukes of Savoy.

The essence of the context is reflected in the architectural design: “We had to rethink every space,” says architect Johane Jean, “but to preserve the warm and cosy character of this apartment we opted for a conservative restyling with a contemporary character that nonetheless retained its vintage soul.” Featuring a balanced mix of innovative materials and accessories with different inspirations, combined with colour contrasts with a bohemian style, Atelier Piola’s choices have helped to give the rooms a well-defined, harmonious feel.

The heart of the house is the living area, which boasts a strong personality. “To create a more airy, lighter environment, we completely opened up the space, creating a large living room with an open-plan kitchen containing furniture designed by a carpenter,” explains Johane. “For the flooring, we chose the Grande Marble Look Ghiara Palladiana collection (120×120 cm size, 6 mm thick, matt finish) both for its graphic motif and retro effect, while the kitchen countertop comes from a marble mason in the Annecy region,” the architect continues.

The flooring in the kitchen, like that in the bathroom area, in which Mystone Limestone  stone-effect stoneware in the Sand Velvet finish was used as a covering, has to be strong and durable with almost zero water absorption. “Porcelain stoneware has a tactile quality and combines aesthetics and functionality. It is a product that we use a lot in our work because it is also very easy to maintain and clean, which is important in day-to-day life,” concludes Johane.

In stylistic terms, an important component of the French school has always been that je ne sais quoi, i.e. all those small, seemingly random details that contribute to creating a perfect domestic atmosphere. The colour chosen for some of the walls, halfway between intense aquamarine and turquoise, is also a shade that was popular among both the masters of the 20th century and today’s decoration gurus, lending character to the ensemble. “We view interior architecture as an interplay of colours and materials,” explain the Atelier Piola designers. Seeing the result, we are certain that such is the case.