On a cacophonous Paris street, in a building that housed the publisher of Emile Zola’s notorious “J’accuse” denunciation and on the former grounds of a cemetery that once held the remains of Molière, comes a private club with an unusual pedigree. Comprising a warren of small, contiguous, cryptlike rooms joined by low, arched ceilings, the 7,000-square-foot space was constructed by architect and designer Raphael Navot; the gold leaf is by the artisans at Atelier Gohard, who are also responsible for the dome of Les Invalides. Illuminated by scattered recessed lighting, the cubes of gilt wood that line the entry walls almost seem to move. A small theater, with a bar and supper club extension, is outfitted with planks of brass-toned mirrors that confuse perspective while giving off a sultry amber light.
If it all sounds very David Lynch, that’s because it is. Silencio, which opens in October, is the first stem-to-stern interior design project by the filmmaker, who also moonlights as a painter, a photographer, a musician, and a furniture designer. Fans of his surrealistic noir films like Blue Velvet, Lost Highway (which was partially shot in Lynch’s home), and Mulholland Drive know Lynch is a master of evocation through location and his interiors are often enigmatic costars. The director prefers to leave much of his work unexplained, but he’ll admit that the name is faintly related to the Club Silencio of Mulholland Drive, and otherwise calls the place “cosmic.”
Silencio will serve two crowds: From 6 p.m. until midnight, there will be live music, art exhibitions, and film screenings. The second shift, which lasts until 6 a.m., is open to the public, with a rotating schedule handled by Silencio’s co-owner, Arnaud Frisch, of Paris’s DJ-centric Social Club. (The theater and supper club will be reserved for members only.) Simultaneously psychedelic, opulent, and spooky, Silencio is sure to lead to plenty of chic debauchery; but as far as Lynch is concerned, there are also tamer pleasures to be had. One of his favorite rooms is the bathroom, with its angled brass trough sink and persimmon-colored mosaic floor. “I think people will have a great time washing their hands,” he says.