August 2003

Paris Living Rooms

Assouline Publishing, Inc.

  • 601 West 26th Street, 18th Floor
  • New York , NY


abc Paris Living Rooms xyz offers a fresh take on the photography of interior design. Photographer Dominique Nabakov arrives at a residence to be photographed and insists that nothing be altered or added, and that there be no people in her photographs. She also uses an unusual film stock (Polaroid Colorgraph (691) that feels a bit off-kilter, almost hazy. This definitely isn’t the high-gloss imagery one finds in top interior design magazines and coffee-table books, but something more austere, individualistic and ultimately more revealing of its subject matter.

Nabakov trains her camera on the living rooms of Parisian artists, writers, designers, intellectuals and the occasional celebrity. There is an almost voyeuristic pleasure in seeing these documentary-like photographs. You feel as if you’ve just wandered in for coffee or tea; things feel unfussy and natural. That is not to say that these rooms don’t possess style. This is Paris, after all, and the uniquely French ability to appear completely polished without an ounce of effort is evident throughout. Fashion Designer Agnes b.’s living room is formal with its elegant molding and Louis XIV’s chairs, but also comfortable, with mismatched oriental rugs that are frayed at the edges. Meanwhile, the actress Irene Jacob’s apartment is remarkably stark, but with a Zen elegance rather a harsh minimalism.

abc Paris Living Rooms xyz offers one a glimpse into the residences of France’s artistic and intellectual elite. It’s a perfect book for those looking to add a little Parisian flair to their homes, as well as for those who simply enjoying seeing how other people decorate their lives.

Reviewer: Mollie Jones, FIDM Library Staff Member