House XL

  • Olivier Dwek
  • Brushed aluminum
  • Sand-blasted oak
  • Eramosa marble
Call it a five-floor XL hotel suite. Or even better: a collector’s item that you live in. Olivier Dwek designed a kind of luxury operating base for the frequent-flyer businessman who collects art and design. A house that functions as a discreet butler, patiently waiting to serve. This is the kind of project with which Dwek has made a name for himself amongst the crème de la crème of international architects. Sophistication permeates everything, from the furniture to the level of finishing, from the choice of materials to the hidden functionalities.

Dwek found a neo-classical house with a traditional room distribution. He turned it upside down, completely opening up the house’s circulation. The three wide steps and elegant staircase ensured Dwek got his grand entrance. He perfectly aligned the sight and walking lines on the sand-blasted oak parquet. But the hand-brushed aluminum wall panels also follow the same tight grid. The rear façade in glass optimally highlights the double-height dining room featuring Jean Prouvé, Pierre Jeanneret, Sterling Ruby, and Rick Owens. Upstairs, in the more discreet spaces, elegance and comfort take precedence over architectural statements. Le Corbusier, Vladimir Kagan, Ado Chale, and Thomas Houseago keep you in pleasant company.

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Dwek certainly did not design a cold, museum-like block house. He did put the house in a precisely measured straitjacket, but it still has a relaxed flow. The architecture does not impose itself precisely because everything is so intuitive and well balanced. The luxury is in the refined art and design collection but also in the interior details, which make numerous references to twentieth-century design history. We see Jean-Michel Frank in the black parchment wall, feel Le Corbusier in the rotating bathroom mirrors, and recognize Mies van der Rohe in the monumental Eramosa marble washbasin.

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