‘eisenhower residence’ by chatillon architects

‘eisenhower residence’ by chatillon architects

Located in the french city of Reims, the “Residence Eisenhower” is a prestigious place for the Champagne houses Piper Heidsieck, Charles Heidsieck and Rare Champagne. Built in the 20th century, the mansion is a former Hotel entirely restored and restructured by Chatillon Architects to reflect its history.

‘Hotel Mignot was built between 1911 and 1913 by the Parisian architect François-Adolphe Bocage for the grocer Edouard Mignot. A fine example of Beaux-Arts architecture, this building is characterized by great architectural and decorative eclecticism. Beyond the particular combinations of its period of construction, certain elements rebuilt after the First World War, such as the large Art Deco stained glass window of the main staircase, contribute to this feeling. In addition, many ornaments for the interior decorations are inspired by the decoration of Fontainebleau and Versailles of the Louis XV and Louis XVI periods, in particular the Grand and Petit Trianon,’ build the team.

image © Antoine Mercusot

rediscover the private and intimate character of the building

Chatillon Architects (see more here), chosen after a call for tenders, worked for three years on this 1,200 m² building, fragmented and partially modified by successive transformations and divisions. The objective was to rediscover the private and intimate character of the hotel, favoring the spirit of a large family home rather than a standard palace.

The Eisenhower Residence has been handed down to us with much of its historic fabric. It is a bourgeois residence particularly representative of life in Reims at the start of the 20th century. Yet, despite the passage of time, everything slept, waiting for a rebirth, hidden under recent improvements. This is what guides the owners, whose request is both simple and complex: to bring this family home back to life as close as possible to its original state’, says François Chatillon, founder of Chatillon Architectes.

That said, the work of the workshop consisted in reconfiguring the volumes and the decor of the cabins (Grand Salon, Petit Salon, smoking room and dining room) and restoring the master, guest and attic bedrooms (three suites and nine bedrooms) , each with its particular character in terms of view, exposure, decoration and atmosphere.

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image © Antoine Mercusot

The particularity of the building lies in its history and tradition. The Eisenhower Residence has a strong personality, which people will understand upon entering. They can say: “I prefer to go into Mr. Jean’s room or into Ms. Marcelle’s room.” They are welcome in the family’, adds the architect.

The modifications necessary to provide the comfort and accessibility expected in a 21st century place are integrated into the crevices of the building, both smoothly and harmoniously. One of the challenges was to find solutions that meet ERP requirements without altering volumes or contradicting the spirit of a particular house. For example, the historic lift, considered to be the first residential lift installed in Reims, has been restored and returned to service with its original fittings. However, given its inhospitable design for people with reduced mobility, the practice has installed a new elevator to guarantee universal accessibility.

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image © Valerio Geraci

elevate interiors with new decor and spatial experiences

The restoration also included the installation of a skylight in the center of the building, unifying the landings of the grand staircase. The skylight and the monumental canvas painted by Meriguet workshop cross several floors in the stairwell and create a connection between the different levels. In the center of the fourth floor, under the attic, Chatillon Architectes has installed a glazed terrace delimited by passageways, a lounge area and four bedrooms on the mezzanine.

The project also made it possible to develop the beautiful vaulted cellars and create new tasting areas in a raw and subdued atmosphere. On the ground floor, customers are invited to enter a place formerly reserved for staff, namely the service areas. These fresh and bright spaces now house the breakfast room and a professional kitchen. The fittings and furniture have been carefully chosen to fit perfectly into this new setting; the final layout echoes the history of the place and brings a warm and contemporary touch to this new reception area.

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image © Valerio Geraci

Sarah Chatillon was in charge of advice on decoration, art and furniture purchases. Her training at the École du Louvre and her experience in contemporary art galleries have forged in her a singular and spontaneous eye for design. Meanwhile, the landscaping team is looking to preserve the rows of plants on the boulevard and street, recreate a white flowerbed behind the “Eisenhower Residence” and relocate the green walkway area with its rose garden to origin on the side. The design is completed with a summer garden pavilion, a place to stop during a walk in the fresh air.

To successfully restore the entire palace, the owners had to trust local, passionate craftsmen with exceptional know-how. The companies involved were Varnerot for masonry, Gourdon for the slate and zinc framework and roofs, Mazingue for all the ironwork and contemporary locksmithing (bow window, summer pavilion, gates, glass roof, and glazed terrace), Art and Technique of Wood for exterior joinery and panelling, and The Carpenter Building for flooring and upholstery.

From then on, the project consisted in bringing this beautiful house back to life, ‘taking care of it’, putting it back into operation, refurnishing it, bringing it back to life without haste, without constraint, with patience and finesse.,’ concludes François Chatillon.

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image © Antoine Mercusot

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