Where does atmosphericist Sandrine Alouf live?
For Sandrine Alouf, there are no boundaries between interior architecture, scenography, decoration and design. This is how she has established herself as an "atmospherist" and a creator of "immobile journeys". Interview at her home in the 10th district of Paris.
When we meet Sandrine Alouf, we feel very quickly on a small cloud ... And for good reason. For beyond being a storyteller through her different creations, clouds are her emblematic signature: she constantly photographs them and distils them throughout her work.
Perhaps you remember the metamorphosis of the Paris station of the RER Luxembourg with the exhibition "Open Skies"? It was in 2006. "Put clouds in the subway" was her project, a totally crazy challenge, but she did it. Since then, the meetings have been chained like a golden thread. In addition to its projects for hotels - the Hotel Déclic being the most recent or the Apostrophe, the Sublim Eiffel, the Nice Excelsior, the Empire ... - it creates collections of objects, carpets, wallpapers.
Since 2014, Sandrine Alouf has set up her agency-showroom in the district of rue Saint-Denis, leaving with regret the Palais-Royal and her apartment-office on the rue Vivienne. It is at her place that she received us: a nice moment of intimacy.
How did you get the idea of becoming "atmospherist"?
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Sandrine Alouf: I am the fourth generation of a family that has always been immersed in art: my parents are graphic designers. I have not studied architecture or decoration but since I was very young, I have always painted and drawn. Of Belgian-Lebanese origin, graduated in art history, I lived in Brussels where I studied.
I first directed the Foundation for Architecture of Brussels, then I moved to Paris, to please my maternal grandmother who was a character: a great woman! This job is finally thanks to her that I could do it. Before leaving me, she said to me: "On earth as in heaven, I will always be there".
From there, I wanted to put the sky underground. I proposed this project to RATP which was supported by Air France. In 2006, for a year, the Luxembourg RER station was transformed into a cloud. It was an incredible human and collective event. It was after this project that an architect then solicited me and I realized the unique sequel "One by the Five" on the concept of weightlessness to get laid! I consider myself a creator of immobile travel, I like to create emotions and tell stories ...
Tell us the story of this building and your apartment.
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Sandrine Alouf: I live in this apartment since 2008. Initially, there were in this building of old stables then it was a plumasserie, itself transformed into a hairdressing school. The whole building was then divided into several lots. The anecdote is that I visited this apartment by chance a few months before meeting my future husband. But when he described the apartment he had just bought, I could draw him. It was the same: it is not invented!
I love this super quiet place where I find the volumes of the Belgian interiors. We just had to enlarge the main room by removing an old room to make it the living space, slightly elevated by a walk. But there was a good base and apart from the painting and the installation of mirrors and tiles, we did not have any big jobs.
Your favorite room where you like to be and spend time?
Sandrine Alouf: The living room: we are all there with family. We listen to music, we draw, my husband cooks ...
Your furniture: rather modern, ultra design, family, pitcher?
Sandrine Alouf: We only have antique furniture, objects that we tinker with: my husband is a collector-bargain-hunter, sometimes he brings me some street stuff. It moves all the time!
The most unusual or unexpected that can be discovered at home?
Sandrine Alouf: The Zuber is this unique wallpaper, made in print, which is at the bottom of the living room: it really gives the impression that we are in a garden. I dreamed of having an exceptional wallpaper. My husband found him on the Internet. Zuber is the oldest manufacture of wallpaper, founded in the eighteenth: they created themes by period. Ours is the series "Japanese garden". We made it canvas to preserve it in case we move. What is beautiful is the reflection of colors according to the light of day and evening.
"The Zuber is this unique wallpaper, made in print, which is at the bottom of the living room: it really gives the impression that we are in a garden."
Your favorite color in your home?
Sandrine Alouf: The green.
And the TV, which room?
Sandrine Alouf: TV is banned. We have a giant screen: it's cinema every night.
Your last purchase - useful or futile! - for the House ?
Sandrine Alouf: From our travels, we always bring back an object with the challenge of bringing it back intact! We brought back from Lisbon, this series of three rather kitsch characters, probably prototypes because the piece is not signed.
"series of three pretty kitsch characters"
An object or piece of furniture that you could not separate?
Sandrine Alouf: An object that I have always seen posed at my grandmother's house representing two fish. I have always loved this piece. In fact, my husband has identified that it was a soliflore that can be put vertically.
"An object that I have always seen posed at my grandmother's house representing two fish."
The kitchen, rather open or closed?
Sandrine Alouf: Open with a central island. My husband cooks a lot; everyone is around him to taste. When my son was born, he wanted to help me, so he started cooking and now it's his domain: I'm not entitled to the chapter anymore.
A dish unexpectedly on the go for your friends? Your specialty?
Sandrine Alouf: My husband loves experimenting and never prepares the same dish twice. It will be a surprise.
Rather candle or rather perfume of atmosphere?
Sandrine Alouf: None of this, because the food suffuses enough. I had chosen a time for these false candles but in the end, all these gadgets bother me.
Curtains, doors, shutters? What does it inspire you?
Sandrine Alouf: We have blinds in the living room. It was in my son's room that I imagined curtains with cloud patterns.
"In my son's room, I imagined curtains with cloud patterns."
A deco tip?
Sandrine Alouf: These curtains are precisely my deco tip because they are in two parts: the blackout is behind and the day, I draw only the veiling.
What is on your bedside table?
Sandrine Alouf: Essential oils, a collection of quotes and a book. I just finished "The pursuit of happiness" Douglas Kennedy, I devoured; I started a book by Erri De Luca, another by Umberto Eco ... in fact, I'm running out of time.
Do you dream of one more room? If so, for what purpose?
Sandrine Alouf: A real nice library because we are crazy books. In the living room, we had a library made to measure for the art books, all the others pile up in the workshop.
Rather orderly or messy?
Sandrine Alouf: I am super orderly but I have a messy family. The worst thing is when I'm away for a trip. The return is a pretty hell!
Are you green plants, flowers, balcony, terrace, garden ?
Sandrine Alouf : I buy cut flowers. As I do not have the green thumb, I prefer my terrace where plants live alone. We take care of it as a family. In summer, it is unfortunately too sunny; it is in winter that we benefit the most: as soon as there is a small ray of sunshine, we invite our friends.
Your addresses or favorite brands for the home (shopping, decoration, florist, etc.)?
Sandrine Alouf: The deal is flawed because I create my objects and my furniture, draw my wallpapers, my carpets as much as by my job, I see a lot of things upstream. I do not particularly like big brands where I do not find myself. I mostly shop when I go back to Belgium and of course during our travels.
The addresses of Sandrine Alouf in Brussels:
- Vintage Items - 33 rue Darwin 1050 Brussels: to look for vintage pieces;
- Scenes of Households - 4 Place Bruggman 1050 Brussels: to acquire tableware;
- Unique Catleya 11! - Avenue Louis Lepoutre, 1050 Brussels: for the most beautiful bouquets of flowers.
Sandrine Alouf's news:
- A colorful collection of pine and Wax fabric chairs: "Wax Going On".
Set of chairs Wax going on
To discover Sandrine Alouf's showroom (sandrinealouf.com) or the site Madeindesign.com;
- The decoration of the hotel Déclic, 17 rue Duhesme, 75018 Paris.