The first thing you read when you view La Maison des Centraliens website is ”the first hotel which will be decorated by Martin Margiela”.

For most people in the know, that would make the hotel special enough – and while that is indeed quite special, it is the rich history of this townhouse, its Haussmann style architecture and the complete and utter Parisian dream it represents that make La Maison des Centraliens so much more.

La Maison des Centraliens is a hidden treasure in the 8th arrondissement.  Located in the centre of  ”The Golden Triangle” (where the Champs-Elysées, Avenue Montaigne, the Grand Palais and the Place de la Concorde meet), the townhouse was first built in 1864 for royalty.  It was later, in between the years of 1913 and 1989, that the private home underwent the extensions and renovations that would allow for it to become a hotel – a luxury hotel to be exact.

Out of respect for this building’s precious history, the design of the hotel had to be handled with class and elegance whilst representing the avant-garde and chic fashion that Paris is known for.  A homage to all things Parisian.

Maison Martin Margiela (MMM) was the exact studio for the job.  Carefully preserving the Haussmann façade both in its exterior and interior, MMM found a way to showcase the classic architecture in his modern design and he successfully represents his playful aesthetic into the century old foundation;  MMM never covered the vintage mouldings while designing the space.  Step inside La Maison des Centraliens and you are in modern Paris with a twist.

Image Courtesy of L’Officiel, Paris (September 2011)

There are 40 rooms known as the ”boutique collection” that have been renovated in a modern, simple and clean vein.  All are light and airy, a sort of precursor to the ”couture collection”, the 17 rooms and suites designed byMaison Martin Margiela.  These suites are spectacular. Each one different, the one thing they share is the white on white canvas (with the exception of the Curiosity Case Suite that is done in all black and grey).  There are classic and modern pieces of furniture, some which give the illusion that they are ”floating”, all in different textures to provide a layering effect for warmth and depth.  Maison Martin Margiela approached each suite as they do with their articles of clothing where great attention was paid.  Even the lighting was carefully designed to provide comfort. There is that Margiela “twist”, that provides a character to each room, a light and airy sense of humour, or dark matte walls for a sexy touch.

The Cigar Bar is a favourite; the opposite of the bar which is light, and airy, simple and raw, it is the negative to the bar’s positive (throughout the hotel Margiela represents opposites through his design, it is one of his favorite tricks).  All of the traditional French panelling wood on the walls has been stained to the darkest colour possible where rich dark leather arm chairs stand juxtaposed against a black stained oak parquet floor which is just plain sexy.  Lighting is sparse and small details like a wine bottle that now serves as the base of a lamp make this room understated but also mysterious as well as intimate with the most to say.

Maison Martin Margiela’s intention was to offer ”a surprising, poetic experience which does not become exhausted with a single visit to the hotel: a liberating experience, a journey within a journey, which exists nowhere else.”

And this is what he has accomplished. Walk through La Maison des Centraliens and you are in a new world completely – yet magically, MMM have managed to keep a Parisian atmosphere, a certain feeling deep in your heart that transcends all time and space.

Discover La Maison des Centraliens through the pictures that follow: