An Ingenious Gold Island Transforms an Industrial Apartment in Paris

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By Lucy Wang
Completed for about $120,000, a custom aluminum insertion reinvents a loft in a 1920s industrial building by adding privacy without sacrificing spaciousness.

Design studio SABO project has worked its loft-maximizing magic yet again in this latest renovation within a former factory in Paris’ 11th arrondissement. A young couple commissioned the local firm to reconfigure the 872-square-foot apartment into a space that felt uniquely theirs, and that preserved the loft’s spacious feel while still providing privacy.

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The solution came in the form of a gold-tinted structure that houses the master bedroom, shower room, and a guest bedroom located atop the thin metal volume. 

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Clad in 40 custom punched, folded, and anodized aluminum sheets, the island clearly delineates the public and private areas without the need for walls or partitions.

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Twelve of the 40 aluminum panels are mounted on metal frames and rails and open up as operable shutters or doors. 

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Custom-designed perforations let natural light filter in and through full-height polycarbonate panels, while certain cutouts serve as door handles.

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"The challenge was to create an uninterrupted and open space while providing a sense of privacy for some of the rooms," says SABO project founder Alex Delaunay. "It is that contradiction that produced the unique design." The project cost approximately $120,000.

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Set against the far wall near the entrance, the aluminum-clad island is placed behind the open-plan communal area—consisting of the living room, dining area, and kitchen—located next to the windows and bathed in natural light.

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In contrast to the rough concrete ceiling and columns, white porcelain was used to craft the delicate light fixtures and cabinet handles. The metal island’s curved edges and gold-tinted cladding also add a touch of refinement to the former industrial space.

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For extra storage space, the architects inserted a wall of gray-paneled storage that seamlessly connects the dressing room to the kitchen cabinets.

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At night, the island glows from within like a large light diffuser.

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Project Credits:

  • Architect of Record: SABO project
  • Graphic Designer: Yuki Nakajima
  • Structural Engineer: DIC Ingénierie
  • Contractor: SMR Concept+