Working with local artisans and aged natural materials like burnt wood and oxidized copper, Raphael Navot imbues the Hotel National des Arts et Métiers with a unique and timeless character. Linked by an inner courtyard, two Haussmann buildings located between the Marais and the Montorgueil quarter have been reworked for the latest addition to the city’s hospitality scene. ‘The hotel’s geographic location was an inevitable part of its conception,’ says Navot.
Inspired by the adjacent national arts and crafts institutions, Navot collaborated with various craftsmen and artisans to research traditional techniques and realize his ideas for the space. ‘The hand-carved Parisian stone pillars in the entrance took about seven months to complete,’ the designer reveals. ‘Paris is world-renowned for its high quality of pierre de taille – dressed stone – architecture, mostly found in the traditional Haussmann buildings.
The preservation of these façades is widespread, but there are less and less companies that have knowledge of hand carving.’ In addition, the walls at la Chicchetteria – the hotel’s venetian-style tapas eatery – are clad in oxidized copper tubes, laboriously assembled by Ronan Masson in a non-repeating algorithm. The naturally occurring shades of metallic blue and green amidst the remaining copper hues impart what Navot calls ‘a particularly magical’ expression of time.
‘Many materials have been developed especially for the hotel; I like the idea of tailor-made textures as they really add a unique feel to every project,’ says Navot. In the Herbarium cocktail bar, fern-leaf motifs stamped on the walls, charred wood and cognac leather on the bar counter, as well as ‘hairy’ armchairs create what the designer describes as a night-time forest scene.
The nocturnal atmosphere continues in la Galerie, the 250-sq-m event space where organic curves of folded concrete, shiny copper and black terrazzo surfaces contribute to a ‘science-fiction night vibe’. With reference to no particular time period or trend, the Hotel National des Arts et Métiers’ timeless character comes from the designer’s choice to avoid decorative elements in favour of raw, natural materials and refined textures.
‘The idea for the mood is a natural yet indulging ambience,’ says Navot, ‘cosy, chic and welcoming with much emphasis on comfort.’ Extending his scope to the olfactory realm, the designer worked with perfumer Arthur Dupuy to develop Racine, a signature fragrance for the hotel, to complete the bespoke hospitality experience.
Design: Raphael Navot
Photography: Jérome Galland