Raphaël Navot seems to be the “new” designer that everyone is looking for. Before the world, perhaps the whole of Paris. In early February he delivered the Hotel Dame des Arts, rue Danton in the 6th arrondissement and will be the Designer of the Year for the January 2023 edition of the Maison & Objet show.
He was born in Jerusalem in 1977. Graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven in conceptual design, he settled in Paris in the Marais and tuned interior architecture and design at a time when noble raw materials and man-made techniques were at their peak. He works with the best workshops in Europe and his creations range from the Silencio nightclub, rue Montmartre in Paris, to the End Grain floor coverings for Oscar Ono or the handmade carpets for the Diurne Gallery, rue Jacob, from the Hôtel National des Arts et Métiers in Paris to the library and art gallery of the Domaine des Etangs in Massignac in the Charentes.
The first time Intramuros wrote the name of this young forty-something, Raphaël Navot, it must certainly have been in 2011, when the Paris Design Guide was being written, where a not inconsiderable place was given to the Silencio, directed by David Lynch at the request of Arnaud Frisch and Antoine Caton, a cultural club of a new kind, “a casting story bringing together the architecture agency Enia, the lighting designer Thierry Dreyfus and the designer Raphaël Navot.“
Three original furniture series were created by David Lynch and custom made by Domeau & Pérès. Design, but also cinema, art, live shows, literature, music and gastronomy always have their place in the program dedicated to the members of Silencio from 6pm to midnight. Beyond that, the Silencio becomes a nightclub open to all and every three months, an artist is invited to realize a project. On Rue Montmartre, you have to go down into the cellar to find yourself warmly wrapped in gold, on the walls, ceilings, furniture and cocktail bars behind which a few bartenders are busy, unaware of the nocturnal fauna of the place… from Pharell Williams to Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, Virgil Abloh or Agnès Varda Everyone meets there, in private rooms or in front of the stage where the future of music is played, with quarter tails and vintage guitars. As an homage to the Mullohand Drive cabaret, the stage looks like an old movie theater, framed with sliding curtains. At its feet, a dance floor welcomes the wisest as well as the most unbridled steps. A place to live original experiences.
The Hôtel Dame des Arts, which opens on February 1, 2023, offers the same type of experience but on a larger scale. The hotel’s 109 rooms, a 4-star setting, carry the spirit of the Left Bank and the New Wave. Inspired by the philosophers, artists and intellectuals of the neighborhood, it displays the spirit of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. In this 1950s building, the hotel combines rooms with a view, open-air rooftop, charming terraces, green garden, fitness studio with sauna, and meeting rooms unlike any other. A perfect starting point to explore the capital and the Parisian art of living. With its Nouvelle Vague décor, works of art and signature scent by Arthur Dupuy, the hotel is a young first.
Simple lines, graphic forms, mineral and natural materials, he has called upon the best craftsmen to achieve a cosy and warm result. Loro Piana Interiors, Veronese, Cappellini, Oscar Ono or Roche Bobois manufacture for him. The restaurant 39V, avenue George V and the Hôtel des Arts et Métiers in Paris, the Hôtel Belle Plage in Cannes or the Bibliothèque du Domaine des Etangs in Charente, have already delivered their spaces to him. Everything here was custom made (except for two Roche Bobois chairs, DOT and Identities). The fluted half-cylinder of solid oak that covers some of the walls of the public spaces and bedrooms echoes the flame-charred black oak floor covered with a protective resin. A warm and caring design in rooms of 15m2 for the smallest, with Queen Size bed and every evening, private cinema on all floors at 9pm and 11pm.
The POH (Patchwork Oval Hemisphere), published by Cappellini in 2014, is a composed piece, marrying the handmade, the computer-made and the machine-made. The assembly of a chaotic volume, sculpted by a machine according to a model generated by a computer, to each time obtain a unique object that can not be repeated, a bit like Gaetano Pesce. Designed for the exhibition “Post Fossil” in the Holon Museum, by Lidewij Edelkoort in spring 2011, it has become part of the permanent collection of Cappellini. Each piece is unique and stems from the inversion of the design principle. “Form follows function” becomes “function follows form“. A revelation at the Holon Museum, the famous museum completed in 2004 by Ron Arad with an extension all in Corten steel, a museum founded by Moti Masson, mayor of Holon, (at the initiative of the media library, the cultural center, the multimedia center, the design museum and the Israeli comic book museum) and Hana Hertsman, director general of the municipality, who since 1993 have been trying to position Holon as “The city of children“.
For Pas de Calais, a young Japanese brand created in 2015 by Ykari Suda as a tribute to Calais lace, which develops its own textiles with cotton, linen and silk and a combination of traditional dyes or cutting-edge techniques, he signs a Parisian boutique on rue de Poitou. Inhabited by Arte Povera or arte povera to be more modest, the simplicity of the materials – cracked wood, corroded metal or powdery limestone – are a true ode to nature. In 2014, he signed the TOH suspension for Veronese. In 2019, Roche Bobois asked him to redo the store on the boulevard Saint-Germain where you can find his collections at the bend of the stairs. For the Friedman Benda gallery, he signed voluptuous and silky sofas.
A circular hall at Maison & Objet
The Apothem Lounge at the entrance of hall 7 at Maison & Objet in Paris Villepinte, must offer an emotion, a concentrate of hospitality, or “The fantastic world of Raphaël Navot”. Its large circular hall will be like an immersive installation of light and textures providing a visual emotion where visitors will be invited to discover the interiors independently of their functionality or context as in a theater where visitors are the actors.
For him, design is a form of scenography that aims to create an atmosphere, supported here by Flos lighting and expertise. With no client, no context, no functionality, the space allows him to take the visitor into a more imaginative realm and create an interior… unexpected. The circular hall, protected by two rows of curved walls and allowing visitors to enter and exit through its 12 portals, offers itself as a simplified maze with freedom and simplicity. A must-see.