Les Bains Douches' pleasure-seeking past elicits a restoration dripping with decadence

Les Bains Douches was one of the more glamorous Parisian nightclubs in the 1980s and 1990s. David Bowie and Iman partied there, while David Guetta spun the decks and Yves Saint Laurent hosted afterparties following his catwalk shows. Converting the building, which was once a spa, into a hotel and restaurant that would evoke its hedonic past required a dream team of sorts. Owner Jean-Pierre Marois enlisted Vincent Bastie to transform the architecture, Tristan Auer to design the hotel, and Denis Montel/RDAI to work his magic on the restaurant and bar.

‘I remember Les Bains Douches in the 1990s,’ says Montel, who is best known for the various boutique interiors he’s created for Hermès. ‘I tried to develop a music-inspired remix of its different eras. I like uniting contradictory influences, so I designed something that’s festive, electric and shiny – but also calm and comfortable.’

Montel gave the spaces a sensual nocturnal feel that emerges from a vibrant marriage of materials. After studying 19th-century spas and observing how drops of water fall from their curved ceilings onto tiled walls, he installed three inverted domes finished in dark-red lacquer and pierced with tiny holes. ‘They are reminiscent of work by Anish Kapoor, whose exhibition at the Grand Palais in 2011 moved Parisians,’ says Marois. Montel covered the floor in pixellated black and white tiles that reference the nightclub’s black and white decor. He continued the theme in the restaurant with a wall clad in shades of red, white and grey fabric supplied by Danish company Gabriel. In a private dining room, a huge chandelier by German artist Joachim Sauter rotates like a disco ball 20 m overhead. Montel calls the object ‘fun and a bit wild’.

Photos Guillaume Grasset


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