Hotel Le Ballu – a true designer jewel that eliminates the prevailing clichés in the luxury hotel industry and regains its history in a new guise – stands in the Parisian district, La Nouvelle Athènes, immersed in the monumental elegance of its 19th century neo-classical buildings. An ancient residence built by the figurative painter Charles Wislin in 1891, it was converted into the new SACEM headquarters in 1960, and today it has become the Hotel Le Ballu. For Thomas Vidalenc – the architect at the helm of this project, which he dedicated himself to for over two years along with his wife – renovating this space meant passing on a legacy that is reflected in the way in which the volumes have been treated, in the presence of furniture designs from the 50s and 60s typical of Central and Eastern Europe, in the persistence of wooden structures and in the constructivist touch of the works of Tauba Sarnaka. History that is handed down and reinterpreted in a retro but original manner, bold yet coherent in the overwhelming diversity of shapes, colours, volumes and materials.
Before entering the Hotel, the two red and stone facades, one in Flemish style and the other in Haussmannian style, catch the guest’s eye. Two different inspirations that seem to anticipate what the traveller will find inside and that fully reflect the eclectic soul of this Hotel Particulier.
Upon entering, we find ourselves in the restaurant area, where an atmosphere lingers, suspended between forest green and petrol blue walls, mirrored ceilings with hanging lamps, Danish-style Art Deco seating and furnishings and a floor in SM Marble – Nero Portoro with a glossy finish. The choice of this material, signed Santamargherita, in the specific shades and finish, enhances the colours, textures and character of the other furnishing accessories, thereby creating a surface that leads to a lush patio.
The 37 rooms of Le Ballu are a true chromatic explosion spread over vivid contrasts: from the petrol blue, garnet red or mustard yellow walls to the colourful bathrooms, where SM-Marble Vendome stands out. This marble-based agglomerate was designed by Santamargherita, following the indications of Thomas Vidalenc and his collaborators, and is used for dual application in the coatings and flooring of the bathroom in the rooms. Distinguished by polychrome granules ranging from brick red to dark green, SM Marble – Vendome recalls the Tauba Sarnaka palette and blends in with the surrounding furnishings, thus creating an actual surprise effect.
The idea behind the project is in fact, to lead the visitor’s imagination to new horizons, to a timeless dimension and to the boundaries of reality, so that falling asleep and waking up at Hotel Le Ballu forms part of an extraordinary journey.