Magazine Daniel Féau et Belles Demeures de France

Le passé recomposé De la place de la Concorde à l’Auvergne, en passant par le Marais, ces décorateurs enchainent les chantiers où l’histoire a le premier rôle. Par Eric Jansen Joseph Achkar et Michel Charrière

Joseph Achkar and Michel Charrière Recreating the past

From Place de la Concorde to the Auvergne via the Marais, these decorators undertake projects in which history is the major player. By Eric Jansen For many years they worked in the utmost discretion with only a privileged few knowing where to actually find them. In 2000, Joseph Achkar and Michel Charrière embarked upon on a colossal project: reviving the historic Hôtel de Gesvres which had become a bank’s head office... Today, the seventeenth century building seems to have survived the passing of time totally unblemished. Parquet flooring, mouldings, fireplaces, furnishings, paintings… nothing is missing and yet almost all have been reconstructed. “We must be in total harmony with where we are, for the contents must fit the container,” says Joseph Achkar who with his partner has also renovated a magnificent palace in Jubayl, known historically as Byblos. Despite being somewhat out of sync with current trends, the duo remains totally committed to their style. Today, contemporary style reigns supreme and references to the past are rarely tolerated unless they are associated with a certain eclecticism... Joseph Achkar and Michel Charrière don’t care in the slightest if they are considered unfashionable. If proof were needed, take a look at their new case of love at first time: Ravel Castle in Auvergne. This 13 th century fortress had over the years been transformed into a refined residence, but when they acquired it in 2014, “the boat was sinking”. They undertook the colossal project to save it. “A lifework.” Don’t be fooled into thinking that they are alone in believing in their daunting, some may even say crazy, projects which lie somewhere between philanthropy and aesthetic dream. Philippe Bélaval, president of the “Centre des monuments nationaux” has entrusted them with the restoration of the Hôtel de la Marine, a renowned and iconic building located

L ongtemps ils ont travaillé dans la plus grande discrétion. Seuls quelques privilégiés connaissaient leur incroyable adresse à Paris. En 2000, Joseph Achkar et Michel Charrière se lançaient dans un chantier colossal : redonner vie à l’hôtel de Gesvres qui était devenu le siège d’une banque… Aujourd’hui, le bâtiment du XVII e siècle semble avoir traversé le temps sans le moindre outrage. Parquets, moulures, cheminées,

mobilier, tableaux, rien ne manque et pourtant tout a été apporté, recomposé. « Il faut aller dans le sens d'un lieu, le contenu doit être en accord avec le contenant », explique Joseph Achkar qui s’est aussi aménagé avec son compagnon un palais à Byblos digne d’un conte oriental. Un total look que le duo de décorateurs revendique, même si ce positionnement n’est pas dans l’air du temps. Aujourd’hui, le contemporain règne en maître


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