A Parisian private mansion transformed into an elegant dream house
Alexandre de Betak, the 52-year-old designer behind some of the most viral fashion shows of the past 25 years, has staged catwalks in daring venues. Through his creative agency Bureau Betak, he conceptualized shows from the Dior catwalks in Moscow’s Red Square and under a 14-meter mountain of custom-built blue delphiniums in the courtyard of the Louvre on a blue diamond podium inserted for Tiffany. in the Forbidden City of Beijing.
After a day at the office conjuring up another spectacle that is quickly disappearing for a client, de Betak wants nothing more than to design a space for his family’s personal use. “I’ve spent my life designing for others,” he says, “so in a way, designing for us and designing permanent homes is incredibly relaxing, just by the nature of being the same but in a way. the opposite of what I do every day. ”
By the time he finished his last home design project in 2016, a playful loft in downtown New York with a stripper pole in a hidden party room, he was already working on a new place to live, a fixer on the other side of the Atlantic on the left bank of the Seine.
Four years ago, he began to shift his center of gravity to Paris, returning to the city he grew up in after more than two decades based primarily in New York City. (Bureau Betak has offices in both cities, along with Shanghai and Los Angeles.) Alex arrived with his life partner, his pregnant wife, Sofía, the 36-year-old Argentinian art director, graphic designer and boho-chic style influencer. known to friends and over 350,000 Instagram followers as Chufy (a childhood nickname). They spent their first 18 months in the city glamping inside, squatting, essentially, in the beautiful ruin that would become their new home, old offices stripped to the bone – four separate units over three floors of ‘a seventeenth century. mansion. “We slept with six hot water bottles,” says Sofía. “We would have pieces of the ceiling falling on us, holes in the wall.” Alex adds: “We used to cook in the fireplace, heat by the fireplace. It was very, very fun.
While inhabiting the space, Alex made plans for what he might soon become, imagining the sculptural, white gesso staircase that would descend three floors, the secret party room – all of his houses have one – he would dig in the basement. “I have to say it was great to design it from the inside out,” he says. After shopping on Airbnb during the two years of construction, early last year Alex, Sofía, and their baby girl, Sakura, finally moved into the finished space.