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Unique Interiors

My Babylon

What's your favorite room at home? The Invisible Collection asked this very personal question to Isabelle Dubern.

Over the past twenty-five years, I have moved a lot, probably more than twenty times, out of a taste for change. Sometimes the new address was just a few blocks from the previous one, always in my favorite Paris area, between rue du Cherche-Midi and the Musée d’Orsay or rue de la Chaise. The buildings and apartments were never alike, each one with its own distinct light. The construction date, the plan, the size, even the comfort varied…


I started with perfectly charming, fragile and uncomfortable 18th century furniture, teaching the children how to lift an armchair and not to slouch abruptly into a bergère, or not to overload a commode… I wonder if my children remember when I used to take them with me to rue Jacob at Comoglio, a historic fabric designer, dreaming of a fabric with embroidered palm trees.


Then, the children grew up, we bought many pieces by India Madhavi, we packed and shipped all the antique furniture to the countryside, and learned that we could be more relaxed with contemporary interiors…


However, I have always kept, from one apartment to the next, two Louis-François Cassas engravings made in the famous Piranese Workshop. One is in London where we live; the other is in our studio in Paris. These engravings are part of a series that Napoleon’s brother gave as a present to one of my ancestors who lived in the wonderful castle of Mortefontaine. I don’t know why – as I am not very attached to objects- but I’m deeply attached to these engravings, probably because they convey the dream of some imaginary worlds caught between an Indian palace and the Bosporus and – why not? – Babylon… Below this engraving, I put the Bishop table in stone that India Mahdavi gave me as a present sometime ago.


My ultimate goal: to reassemble the whole collection of these engravings in a house where I would settle for good and where I would invite my children and my future grandchildren…



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