The Island is a minimal residence located in Paris, France, designed by Clément Lesnoff-Rocard in collaboration with Gil Percal. This project, initiated three years ago, could be considered as an antagonist allegory to the famous movie Cast away, lost on an island: it shows one’s relationship between isolation and the concept of wholeness, or how to create your own symbolical home out in the wild, despite being separated from the rest of the world. Conversely, here the project is about finding a way for a family to have their own universal and symbolical wild landscape inside their home, surrounded by the city but deeply separated from its looming pressure.
Located on the outskirts of Paris, at the very foot of La Défense, an otherworldly accumulation of oversized high risers, the house stood almost lost on the edge of a tiny little street that ends abruptly abutting the massive fundaments of a cluster of towers. This brutal situation, in between high density modernist utopia and the modestly grandiloquent 19th century architecture, emphasizes the feeling of being a tiny little Défense-less being. The house seemed like an oyster without a shell, lost in the ocean. Luckily it was articulated around a little exotically planted patio garden and the architects decided at the first visit with partner Gil Percal that this house had to be protected from this outer predatory world, turning its back to the street and only looking at itself, its garden and its own qualities, yet to be found. As many 19th century urban houses, over the years the house had been quite parasitized by the consecutive owners’ interventions. Space was suffocating and textures were shouting at each other in a belligerent manner.
Photography by Simone Bossi