architect ariel claudet offers a poetically tuneful abstraction inspired by the essence of shaker in this small studio renovation in parisdubbed shakers studio it features a copper tubing that connecting all of the properties fixtures and fittings demonstrates a modern and austere accent throughout. but whilst highlighting clean lines and an absence of adornment it also acts as a musical score playing to the various living situations within the space.

all images © cyrille lallement



once housing remarkable occupants such as elisée reclus and gustave eiffel, shakers studio sits in a 1666 building located on the banks of the river seine in the iconic neighborhood of saint-germain-des-prés. the client? a retired sociologist who settled in the building when the neighbourhood was still affordable. now he wants to rent out a studio in his apartment in order to pay the escalating property fees.



the brief was to design an attractive, easy to maintain, 235sqf (22m2) studio apartment that would stand out in a crowded rental market. to achieve this ariel claudet uses a copper tube framing that runs throughout the entire property. the idea of the tube as a hanging system came to the architect whilst reading about the shakers, a dissident branch of the more famous quakers and christian sect often pictured as proto-modernists because of their ban of ornamentation.



literally tracing spaces and preventing furniture to damage walls, the copper device declutters the compact space by concealing electrical cables whilst proving a smart and characterful solution to the properties hotchpotch surfaces. after 350 years of successive alterations, the apartment has neither a straight surface nor two parallel walls; I needed to find a material offering a large range of fittings in order to follow the odd shape of the walls‘, claudet explains before continuing. ‘most remarkably, copper has the poetic quality of showing off its history when it ages so I made sure the construction workers did not wear gloves.’



at completion you could tell the history of the construction thanks to dark fingerprints where workers held the pipes while screwing them on bell hangers‘, he continues.this patina quickly started to react to where the copper tubes stand: darker where the users put their hands. shiny where the hangers rub onto its surface and green in wet and humid spaces like the kitchen‘.



the copper tube pathways were composed by the architect as a musical score on which each use would have its own music. soft scraping noises from hangers in the entrance, dings and dongs from pans in the kitchen, the last click of the switch you hear at night when you turn the lights off… I pictured this studio apartment as a single room in which you eat, read, work and sleep as a dreamlike pod, a place at the threshold in between the physical and the oneiric worlds.’



but the idea was to also set a simple process which had enough flexibility to enable the architect to design while dealing with convoluted situations, devised on site as decisions were taken inch by inch. like a game of snake the system worms its way satisfying various functions, dodging switches, dancing around windows and hosting light sources.



all artworks decorating the studio are made by the architect who also practices art and stage design. they are designed as windows onto an imaginary world, that altogether form an ensemble called ‘anthology of a house to live in’ a visual digression about a door that wanders around in a haussmannian apartment.



shaker studio aims at contributing to keep social diversity in a neighbourhood about to be deserted from its inhabitants. the income that results from the rent is enough for the sociologist to stay and this apartment is probably the only one of this quality a young couple can offer in the neighbourhood. the story of shakers studio reflects the parisian middle-class’ struggle to keep living in central neighborhoods now inhabited by wealthy foreigners in search of a fancy pied-à-terre in the city of lights.



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