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13/09/2021

Ubalt agency, a visual signature

The young Parisian interior design agency Ubalt has the creative ambition to evolve within eclectic projects, apartments, sports equipment, or shops. One of their first projects, this loft in the Grand Marais embodies their particular intention of a hybrid space, between a contemporary art gallery and a private residence.

Nastasia Potel and Mylène Vasse, DE architects soon to be DPLG, founded the agency in 2015. Their experience in interior architecture and scenography is forged from their studies at the ENSA of Versailles around projects carried out as a duo. Lively and determined, they prefer to take the path of staged decor, an option according to them, “Less restrictive less conventional and in a shorter timing” . They make themselves known by word of mouththanks to private sites or scenography projects entrusted by communication agencies.

Portrait de Nastasia Potel et Mylène Vasse.

The creation of this 250 m2 loft in the heart of the Grand Marais district in Paris, combines the domestic and the spectacular, major concerns of their activities. “During the confinement, the owners started their desire for change which, subsequently, triggered the renovation of the place. “ It took a lot of imagination, and a daring price match, to successfully transform this old data center located on the ground floor on the courtyard of a building from the 1970s.

“We had carte blanche, and the challenge was to manage the lack of a clear view, the lack of natural light, and to provide flexibility. The site was also unique; In addition to our flawless investment, a retired entrepreneur, from the client’s family, was part of the adventure, carrying out much of the work himself. “ detail the architects.

Intended for residential and event rental (showroom, photo shoots, exhibition gallery), the double specificity of the Grand Marais loft was the major challenge of this atypical project. To meet the specifications, the architects imposed a particular formal language specific to the context; custom-designed lighting that recreates the light without restoring it, plexiglass beams and joinery designed in the form of fluorescent yellow signage.

In this new configuration, the bedrooms and the projection room are flexible, the living room is so large that it also includes a double kitchen. The planters recreate a mini garden in zenithal light filtered by four skydomes (kinds of portholes).

As half of the apartment does not have a window, the play of materials and colors was decisive in order to unify the whole. “Concrete, terrazzo, fluorescent yellow plexiglass, shades of gray in furniture, iridescent textiles slide from one space to another, and respond to each other, in order to create relationships between them, and to refocus on the living room. “

A few references to the seventies reinforce the emerging style of these young architects, fans of the architect Rem Koolhaas, the minimalist artist Dam Falvin or the couturier André Courrèges. The domestic or retail projects that they design play with structural elements that interact with each other like characters in a scenography, even before thinking about functionality.

Anne Swynghedauw