A Tempting Fate
Staff -- Interior Design, 10/31/2008 12:00:00 AM
firm: philippe starck
It's rare to find a client, a space, and a designer that are all destined for each other. It is rarer, still, when they actually converge; but when they do, the gods of aestheticism smile.
The client: Baccarat,the 244-year-old crystal source, scouting Moscow for a flagship to stage its full range. The space: 19-21 Nikolskaya Street, a 113-year-old, Adolf Erichson–designed mansion with aNeo-Renaissance/Baroque exterior that evokes the pedigree of its new tenant. The designer: Philippe Starck, no stranger to triggering tension between past and present, who promised “A crystal palace, where everything is possible.” The result: Maison Baccarat Moscow, now occupying the first two floors of the four-story building, for a total of 5,920 square feet.
As part of the renovation, broken globes on the 19th-century candelabras in the main stairway were quickly replaced with hand-blown reproductions from France. In the main floor boutique, Stephani Balini's Damoiselles stems have come to rest on Starck's mirror-top Crystal Supper table. The Solstice chandelier hangs directly above, while Starck's Zenith hovers over the crystal-leg, Glass Class chairs. But wait—there is also a restaurant. Upstairs in the Cristal Room, the In and Out of Focus chandelier, again by Starck, accompanies French-Russian fusion cuisine. Across the room, his plaster ogre opens wide, eschewing restaurant fare as he prepares to devour old television sets. And hidden inside the kitchen, VIPs huddle in the sheltering banquettes of La Table de Chef. It's a space where “everything is relative and subject to illusion,” says Starck.
The next reality is Apparat, a 12-piece gilded crystal series by 5.5 Designers debuting in November. Something new for an old space—and a brand that's even older. 800-777-0100; baccarat.com.circle 791
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