“A box within a box” designed by Matali Crasset

The French architect and designer has transformed an anonymous apartment in Normandy into a domestic stage, giving life to a creative and dynamic environment.

This article was originally published on Domus 1066, March 2022.

A tailored-made intervention – considered down to the smallest detail by the French designer – has transformed a small two-level apartment in a 1980s building on the Côte Nacre, northern France, into a character-filled holiday home.

The clients’ only requests were to have an extra bedroom (three in total) and a sea view from all rooms. Given the freedom to invent the entire space, but with only 40 m2 per level at her disposal, Crasset opted to create “a box within a box” to give life to a contemporary and experimental yet intimate setting. 

Like a stage, on a wooden platform raised 30 cm off the existing floor and completed by identical ceiling coving, the various functional areas flow into one another seamlessly: the layout is a single open space. “This structure plays with the room’s volumes, making you forget about it, and allows you to create a central space where you can invent everyday uses or simply breathe and relax,” says the designer. “The vigorous and dynamic space encourages actions, writing, thinking... inviting friends and sharing.” 

Matali Crasset, casa vacanza, côte Nacre, Normandia. Foto Philippe Piron
Matali Crasset, holiday home, Côte Nacre, Normandy. Photo Philippe Piron

Bold colours break the continuity of the wooden structure and characterise the spaces: green, blue and orange on the first level, with a green staircase leading to the second floor that is mainly pink, purple and red. A view of the sea continues with the sofa area connected to the terrace.

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