The likes of Iggy Pop, David Bowie, Andy Warhol, Robert de Niro or Catherine Deneuve partied hard and danced the night away at the former bathhouse located at 7 Rue du Bourg-l`Abbé. But it wasn’t just celebrities – what made the club so unique was the eclectic crowd it attracted: artfully made up drag queens mingled with the jeunesse dorée, famous models rubbed elbows with kids from the banlieue. The doormen weren’t interested in people’s social class or where they came from, what got you in was your look. The interior design of the place also made it stand apart from other more conventional clubs. Instead of elaborate light shows, the owners took advantage of the aura of the historical building with its stained glass windows, caryatides at the entrance and stalactite pillars on the ground floor. Floors and walls were covered with black, blue and white tiles. If it got too hot on the dance floor, you could just take your glass of champagne and jump into the pool. The temple of debauchery definitely had its very own style of liberty, equality and fraternity.
Now, since its reopening, everything is possible in a place where sleep was once unthinkable: dining, partying, bathing and sleeping. Winner of several Michelin stars, consulting chef Philippe Labbé develops culinary delights for the restaurant while the adjacent bar offers sophisticated cocktails. Danish design furniture is grouped under a dark red lacquered ceiling dome. Echoing the building’s history, investor Jean-Pierre Marois created a kind of miniature club in the basement, where he plans to host concerts and parties – and in tribute to earlier days, even a pool has been installed again.
Chic not ostentatious – this was the motto guiding interior designer Tristan Auer, who furnished the 39 guest rooms in the upper storeys and Denis Montel, who designed the restaurant. Auer’s composition of black room doors, concrete-coloured wall elements, ash grey carpeting, understated glass tables and ebony shelving combines modern design with the classic elements of the original building. Showpieces like the rust-coloured velvet sofas are reminiscent of Andy Warhol’s New York Factory. All these different touches coalesced into a work of art recently crowned with the European Hotel Design Award.
The interior designers selected a line of Axor brand fittings for the bathrooms. Washbasins, washbasin mixers and shower pipes are all from the Axor Bouroullec collection, which befits the history of Les Bains like no other line. The design by the French brothers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec is based on the idea of flexibility and individuality. The shelves flow seamlessly into one another, sometimes even on various levels, and offer ample space for toiletries. Delicate organic shapes give the mixers an understated design language that blends well with the overall interior design.
The mixers of the Axor Montreux collection are in keeping with the aesthetics of the Haussmann era when the bathhouse was built. Their elegant sweep complements the freestanding bathtubs in the Belle Époque style. Hotel guests who enjoy showering outside can do so on room terraces equipped with the Axor Showerpipe by Front. The interior designers chose a special surface finish – a brushed reddish-gold – from the Axor Manufaktur for the shower set, which consists of a thermostat, hand shower and adjustable overhead shower. Its design is reminiscent of copper pipes, funnels and valves and radiates industrial charm.