French sophistication with Art Deco panache
A dated interior has been transformed into a charming home with exquisite details and Art Deco touches thanks to the smart design of current tenant Pierre-Armand Fiévet.
The 80-square-meter apartment on the second level of a lovely 1930s building tucked in a lane on Yanqing Road gives a wow factor when entering.
Fiévet, a native of Paris, wanted to return the space to its original spirit – to freshen it up without erasing its identity.
"This flat hadn't been renovated for years and everything needed to be freshened up – electrical wiring, pipes, walls and ceiling. But from the first visit I knew the two old chimneys and beautiful wooden floors would be the highlight," he said.
Fiévet arrived in Shanghai in 2012 after visiting the World Expo in 2010, and he felt the future will be designed in China.
"During the past 10 years, I've moved 12 times in this city and enjoyed each place that I have called 'home'."
Fiévet is a diamond dealer and jeweler, creating bespoke high jewelry under his brand "Shalemssar."
He also has an art consulting company that helps bring exhibitions to China, including a Picasso exhibit that takes place in 2022.
As a businessman with exquisite tastes, an ideal home for him is somewhere he can feel harmony.
"An essential element for an ideal home is the flow – both sides of the house feature big windows to get the maximum amount of sunlight. Light is an important part of my life. In my work, when I look at a diamond, the priority is how the light goes through the stone, which is the same for my home – how the light goes inside and how I can live with it on a daily basis," Fiévet said.
The high ceiling and the big arched windows bring in abundant natural light. The space has a great layout with two big rooms for different functions. However, the rest of it was very run-down. The electrical wiring had a modern-use upgrade, and all the piping work was redone. Fiévet renovated the entire space and rooms were reassigned. Walls were demolished and replaced with large wooden sliding doors between the bedroom and living room.
"As I really like mixing styles, I added two chairs with Louis the 15th style that we call 'cabriolet'," he said.
A series of mismatched stools and chairs surround two round coffee tables, and streams of color come from an Iranian carpet.
Fiévet wanted to create a New Art Deco style with vintage touches. New Art Deco is an evolved form of Art Deco, which was known for its eclectic, luxurious style. In terms of classic shapes and geometric forms, New Art Deco is all about 21st century Deco-inspired interiors – vivid, glamorous, polished and self-assured.
The living room is exquisitely designed, with half the walls covered in Art Deco-like wallpaper imported from the United Kingdom. Combined with furniture designed in an Art Deco motif, the space has a retro, authentic feeling.
The space is vivid and polished with jewel-like furnishings that light up the rooms, ornate details as beautiful as brooches and contemporary features to give it a modern-day touch.
On the walls are exquisite frames with great artworks. Fiévet was an art dealer in Paris, and he brought one of his favorite paintings by French artist Georges Antoine Rochegrosse called "The Welcome Back."
"Another favorite is the artwork from my dear friend, the painter Mianhua whose studio is in Shanghai, representing color in perpetual movements," Fiévet said.
Artworks are essential elements in Fiévet's home.
"It's always a good topic for discussion with guests," he said.
On top of the coffee tables are two of his favorite books: One about his mentor Fawaz Gruosi, who built a high-end jewelry brand called De Grisogono with a fine sense of harmony between the colors of gemstones and diamonds; the other about Chinese photographer Lu Yanpeng, who uses old photography techniques to create images depicting a sea of clouds over the mountains of China.
Fiévet placed the dining table next to the arched windows, so the dining area is always awash in sunlight. At night, dim lights create an intimate vibe.
"It's the ideal space for me to have interesting discussions with friends," he said.
The master bedroom is designed with subtle tones, free from dramatic features on the walls. The calming and soothing vibe induces a good rest after a long day.
Ask The Owner
Q: What's the best thing about living in Shanghai?
A: I feel Shanghai has been in perpetual changes and evolution, bringing you to discover and learn things almost every day.
Q: Describe your home in three words.
A: Spacious, bright and cozy.
Q: How do you unwind?
A: Reading is the best way with cooking.
Q: Where do you spend most of your time at home?
A: Definitely in my living room.
Q: What's the view outside your window?
A: The life of the lane with my neighbors.
Q: What's your favorite object at home?
A: It's a painting which means a lot for me from a French painter from the XIX century: Georges Antoine Rochegrosse.
Q: Where do you buy furniture?
A: Mainly in antique dealer shop in France and China.