“You can see the ripples,” says design star Julien Sebban, gesturing at the swirling poured-resin floors of the Paris apartment he shares with his husband, Jonathan Wray, the artistic director for Maison Royère. “We wanted a shoe-free home, and resin is comfortable to walk on barefoot.”
It’s just one of the many moments of material magic that make their new flat “a full Uchronia experience,” as Sebban puts it, referencing the buzzy, multidisciplinary firm he launched in 2019. In the years since, he has put his inimitable stamp on private homes, furniture, pop-up shops, and more—from branding for Sonia Rykiel to interiors for the restaurant Forest at the Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris.
At home, Sebban’s self-imposed brief was simple: a total outburst of exuberance and joy. Mission, as always, accomplished. A loftlike space in the 18th arrondissement, just around the corner from the Uchronia studio, the apartment has offered the couple a laboratory for bold ideas. (It doesn’t hurt that many artist and artisan peers are based nearby.) “We worked on the space like a painting,” says Sebban, who tapped the specialists at Atelier Roma to create unconventional wall finishes. (“No white walls!” he exclaims.) Whereas ceilings are lacquered sky blue, the guest room is drenched in a glossy orange and the primary bedroom in a bright yellow based on a neighboring building. To highlight the place’s original bones, meanwhile, Sebban wrapped ceiling beams in Japanese silver foil and LEDs. Those reflective touches, in conjunction with a wall clad in mirrored mosaic tiles, create a dazzling interplay of light. “It’s just a little architectural trick,” Sebban says coyly.
“All around us you see glimpses of projects,” he continues, pointing to the many bespoke furnishings, some concepts in progress, that populate the apartment. There are textile experiments for a new line with Prelle, a side table in the form of a giant tassel with trimmings by Passementerie Verrier, and a snaking onyx-and-resin dining table that took six months to develop. Notes Sebban: “It can seat 16, but you still feel close to everyone.” In the kitchen, an industrial stainless-steel island complements a tortoiseshell-like wall of glitter-embedded resin and a backsplash of printed tiles that Sebban created with Dutch maker Studio GdB. “Those only took two weeks to produce.” Sebban gushes of the happy blue-and-green motif.
“Take a look!” Though it’s hard to know where to look first. Mixed among his own creations are an array of eye-catching vintage treasures, many of them scored at the nearby Paris flea market. Antique candelabra sconces wear custom shades of pale pistachio while a handsome suite of Frank Lloyd Wright dining chairs are upholstered with lustrous floral satin. The fusion glass seen in the dining area’s 1980s console table (now used as a bar) inspired Sebban to develop a similar technique with French craftspeople. Today, a year after the couple moved in, the apartment is still in constant motion, its furniture arrangements ever-changing. Wray, in particular, loves cooking and hosting parties. “The idea is to entertain in a playful way,” Sebban clarifies. “Nothing is formal. For my 30th birthday we just filled up the counter with food and hung out.” Shoes off, comme d’habitude.
Julien Sebban and Jonathan Wray’s Paris apartment appears in AD’s February 2024 issue. Never miss an issue when you subscribe to AD.
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