Italian studio Antonio Virga Architecte has renovated and extended a Parisian building to create offices and haute-couture workshops for French fashion house Dior Homme (+ slideshow).
Antonio Virga Architecte worked with Dior's architecture department to renovate the building located on a triangular plot between Rue de Marignan and the Impasse Bourdin passageway in Paris' 8th Arrondissement.
The original structure dates back to Baron Haussmann's reorganisation of Paris during the second half of the 19th century, when all structures were designed under height restrictions and constructed from the same cream-coloured stone.
Antonio Virga's challenge was to provide enough space to house all of the Paris-based staff at Dior Homme – the menswear division of the LVMH-owned fashion house – within the 1,500 square metres of floor area split over five levels.
Antonio Virga's main intervention was an extension to the first floor, creating additional workspace and a covered walkway around two edges of the roof terrace.
"The existing house had been deprived of its ground floor when the existing terrace was constructed," said the studio. "The extension, in particular thanks to the passageway and canopy, creates a meaningful dialogue with the existing site by giving back good proportions to the terrace."
Raised a few steps above the outdoor space, the L-shaped addition is fronted by floor-to-ceiling glass panels mounted within thin black frames.
The terrace is decked with timber boards, interrupted by a rooflight for the floor below that is crisscrossed with mullions laid out in a diamond pattern.
"The vertical lines try to repeat the sequence of existing windows, while the diagonals on the canopy are to be imagined as a reinterpretation of the old Parisian glass roofs," said the studio.
Staff and visitors enter the building from Rue de Marignan into a minimally decorated and furnished reception space. The Dior logo is mounted behind a concrete desk with an angled front, and a screen plays clips from the brand's fashion shows.
"The reception is totally refined in order to let the brand be fully activated: only the ceiling, the logo and a digital display showing the latest fashion shows enliven the room," said Antonio Virga Architecte.
The minimal aesthetic is continued throughout the building, with predominantly white walls paired with either grey-rendered or wooden flooring.
A curving black band spirals around the inner edge of the original staircase, circling the exposed lift shaft.
"The elevator shaft is stripped and now displays its original grid as a tribute to the history of the place," said the architects.
Offices are partitioned by the same black-framed glass walls that surround the external terrace. The couture atelier features built-in storage for tailors to tidy away their materials and tools.
Photography is by Olivier Helbert.