While writing a recent post titled Collected Cool I discovered the stylistic beginnings of antiques dealer and interior designer Florence Lopez in the September, 1995, issue of The World of Interiors. Featured was her new apartment in an artist’s studio in the Saint-Germain-des Prés, Paris. Bold and gutsy, yet a tad romantic, this studio apartment sheds light on the evolution of the collector and designer who today occupies the same space as artist-in-residence and chatelaine of her twenty-year old business.
The designer approached the space above as an artist would his studio, mixing exotic ephemera and beloved fetish objects for inspiration. A floating midnight blue mohair velvet sofa, a framed mirror within an empty frame leaning casually against a wall, photos hung salon style, and books piled here and there, all contribute to a feeling that one’s entered a cabinet d’amateur. The simple background of white for walls and window treatments allows the richness of the furniture and objects to take center stage. This apartment was Lopez’s first modern incarnation after six years of absorbing l’ancien regime training under Jacques Garcia. She described her style as esoteric, but with soul.
Above is the same room as it appeared when it was last photographed. The designer changes the contents of the rooms as pieces sell, and every six months changes colors and makes stylistic changes. Where there was once a mix of neo-Renaissance, Arts & Crafts and French 40’s furniture now exists mid-century modern furniture and objects d’art, and where there was once a cocoon of white now exists saturated, inky color. In the photo above a mirror opens up the view of the studio and dining room beyond, and a tableau reveals the designer’s continued taste for bold, masculine objects with sculptural qualities.
Lopez created a dining room out of a small area off the kitchen, separating the two by a curtain of white linen. The oak table and chairs, by Jean Charles Moreux, are covered in parchment. The study of figures is by Ribrolles. On the table are 20th-century ceramics and stone balls.
Today the dining room is enlivened by a yellow, black-and-white graphic pattern painted on to the walls. The room, once nostalgic and romantic, is now optimistic and vibrant.
The bedroom and office were carved out of an unforgiving space under the eves that twenty years later attests to the designer’s forgiveness. At one end Lopez covered heavy 1940’s chairs with cotton slipcovers to blend with the walls, against which she placed the honeyed glow of mostly Arts & Crafts furniture. The combination reads almost British Colonial, a favored aesthetic at the time. On the neo-Renaissance desk is a plaster figure attributed to Belomondo or Aljean, an early 20th-century globe and 19th-century photograph albums.
Today a graphic pattern in black-and-white defines the bedroom’s scheme – where a bed now inhabits the space the neo-Renaissance desk once did.
Photography by Jacques Dirand for The World of Interiors, September, 1995. Recent photography by Phillippe Garcia via Florence Lopez Atelier. To view more photos of the evolution of the studio visit her website.