New among Paris’ boutique hotels is Hôtel National des Arts & Métiers. Set somewhere between the Marais and Montorgueil quartiers in the third arondissement, the hotel takes its design cues from the Centre National des Arts & Métiers, a century-old institution devoted to engineering and the teaching of manufacturing techniques. And as such, Paris-based architect Raphael Navot has pieced together craftsman and artisans, custom décor, and a palette of rich materials to create something pretty unique, down to the finest detail: everything from the hotel’s sheets to its speakeasy bar has been created in the tradition of French savoir-faire. Indeed, material and texture are king throughout the 66-room establishment and its adjoining restaurant, Ristorante National, and bar, L’ Herbarium. The hotel entrance is encircled by six hand carved ashlar pillars, each made from stone pulled from a Paris quarry. These are laid over fossilised Granit marquetry flooring.
The restaurant, a specially commissioned artwork by French painter Gael Davrinche wraps around one wall, awash with ocean-blue Japanese ink. There are restored vintage Tatra chairs for the restaurant too, and timber table tops, concrete legs, washed velvet sofas in teal, and suede curtains—making the whole room are sort of textural tapestry, where materials are the paint and colour. In L’ Herbarium where of-the-moment barman Oscar Quagliarini makes olfactory inspired cocktails is a wall-hanging made of oxidized pure copper tubes. The blue, green, and pink tubes were created via a non-repeating algorithm by French artist, Ronan Masson. The whole hotel is a virtual shopping list of expert local contributor craftsman, creatives, and artisans. Oscar Ono and Cassou for the woodwork, Rue Herold for the linen, Rubelli for the velvet, Signature Murale for mineral wall coatings, and Moroso and Sol & Luna for selected furniture. There’s also Pierre & Granite for the marble floors in the lobby and a sculpted marble staircase leading to the first floor. And layered over the top are Parisian florist Kali Vermes’ flower arrangements.