In the heart of Paris on 7 rue Méchain, an architectural marvel by Robert Mallet-Stevens emerges: a sleek and exquisite apartment building designed in 1928-1929. Crafted at the request of Jean Deschamps, it is a rather hidden building in the Parisian sea of beautiful constructions albeit a treasure trove of Mallet-Stevens’ signature design elements. Mallet-Stevens is known to have worked on the most notable Art Deco buildings in Paris, encompassing elegance with an attentive experimentation of shape. Even for those not versed in architecture, the two circular windows of this building alone are enough in understanding the creative zest of the Parisian 1920s through their intricate, jazzy compositions.
At 7 rue Méchain, the Polish Art Deco artist Tamara de Lempicka found her creative haven. After moving to Paris in 1918, she embodied a famously eccentric spirit with daring nudes together with empowering and rather bold portrayals of womanhood. Her studio duplex apartment, a masterpiece itself, was home to her timeless works like The Sleeping Girl and Young Lady with Gloves. It once occupied both the second and third floors.
While it is difficult to arrange a visit to the exact space she used as her atelier for 15 years, the building’s interior is the work of Louis Barrillet for its stained glass, Jean Prouvé for its metal railings, and the Atelier Jean Perzel for lighting, which makes this unassuming building absolutely stunning if you get the chance to even venture into the hallway.
In short, 7 rue Méchain tells the tale of an architectural symphony intertwined with the vibrant spirit of an artist ahead of her time. The building itself is an example of Art Deco architecture and gives a sense of the dazzling life at the time. Although often missed, it’s a brilliant sight in understanding Paris’ role as a major art and culture center in Europe as well as the life of a very talented artist.