Parisian Designer Christian Mussy Makes His First Mark in Los Angeles

The internationally renowned interior designer and fabricator takes on Bel Air’s La Maison des Nauges.

Photo by Tom Boland While the estate was built in the Spanish Colonial Revival style, the owners requested sophisticated interiors that were French Moderne from the 1930s and 1940s, while neither matching nor disrupting the exterior.

When the owners of La Maison des Nuages, Bel Air’s “House in the Clouds,” wanted to redesign their grand estate, nothing but the best would do. So they reached out to one of the world’s most prominent designers, Christian Mussy of Paris, and gave him his first Los Angeles commission.

Mussy’s credentials, after all, are unrivaled. He studied at the Ecole du Louvre and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, and has done extensive restoration work on the period rooms at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs and the Louvre in Paris. His signature work is custom-designed furniture – from classic 18th-century styles to art deco to more modern periods, He is also known for designing "boiseries" or wall-treatments, flooring, lighting, hardware, fireplace surrounds and more.

L.A.’s top architects and designers recently took a sunset tour of Mussy’s work on the 8,231-square-foot mansion built in 2002 by architect Kevin Clark, and the kudos flowed. Mussy’s task was not an easy one.

The owners of the estate requested sophisticated interiors that were French Moderne, from the 1930s and 1940s, while neither matching nor disrupting the exterior Spanish Colonial Revival architectural style. For inspiration, Mussy looked at archival photographs of all the French interior architects and “ensembliers décorateurs” from Ruhlmann to Royère.

Mussy then combined the European ideas he garnered with American inspiration that would be compatible with a home in the U.S. For example, he turned the former living room into a gallery, and custom designed a wool carpet inspired by 1930s French designs, which were woven by Christopher Farr of Los Angeles. The low table he placed in the center of room is based on one he saw in the Jackson Lake Grand Lodge in Wyoming.  The iron base with gold-leaf was made in Paris, and the stone top was sourced in Los Angeles.

Photo by Tom Boland Designer Christian Mussywas able to create a dramatic, sculptural entrance to the home that would be a transition from the home’s exterior architectural style to the unexpected French Moderne style in the home’s interior. The ceiling fixture is made of polished plaster and ceramic, and the three ceramic motifs in the center are designed to direct the light upward. It's suspended by a wench which allows for easing cleaning and changing of light bulbs.

He also melded diverse styles in the dramatic, sculptural entrance. The front door is the transition from the home’s exterior architectural style to the unexpected French Moderne style in the home’s interior. The 800-pound door was designed by Mussy and made in Paris, as was the sculptured ceiling fixture and the four wall sconces, which were inspired by the Guggenheim Museum.

The family did not want a television in their family room, and asked for a game-room theme. So Mussy created a room with a warm and welcoming atmosphere where the family could indulge in cards, puzzles, mah-jong, and other games. He did this by restoring an original 1940s pièce, then designing and adding silver mounts with card motifs on the base. He also used a carpet based on a Vasarely painting, woven with silk and wool fibers.

These are but a few of the many creations Mussy added to the mansion. If you would like to see other examples of his work, it’s currently being showcased from November 1st to 30th at Greystone Mansion Showhouse, Design House International, in association with Friends of Greystone and the City of Beverly Hills. For tickets and information, visit: DesignHouseInternational.com


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