“We like to play with textures, materials, and colors to create a unique atmosphere which matches the personality of the client,” explains architect Camille Bagnoud, cofounder with Carole Froidevaux of Coci Studio. And a recently completed kitchen and living room renovation for a wine-loving filmmaking client in Geneva was no different. The duo, whose firm is based in Lausanne, Switzerland, knew that the kitchen was the owner’s most important space in the apartment, where she enjoyed welcoming guests for a movie, dinner, or drinks—and there was ample space in the kitchen and living room to work with.
But the original living room was, Camille says, “poorly proportioned and unfriendly,” and the kitchen was bland, with dated floor tiles and a dreary backsplash. The space wasn’t without its merits, though: With ceilings at about nine and a half feet, the room had height and airiness for Camille and Carole to play with. By removing existing finishes and a partition or two, they had a clean slate.
So Camille and Carole set about reorganizing the space, focusing on relocating elements and circulation so that their client’s living-dining-cooking spaces flowed better and centered around an unexpected multifunctional feature: “two back-to-back benches, one for the dining table and the other for the living room,” says Camille. By placing the bench so that it serves both the kitchen/dining and living rooms, it also acts as a de facto divider between the two spaces. To further delineate this separation, they placed a partition with clear glass and a black frame that stretched from the top of the bench to the underside of the ceiling. The glass partition was a specific request from the client, drawing the eye up to the high ceiling while still maintaining views across the spaces.
In the kitchen, Coci Studio further emphasized the ceiling height with two different strategies: “We extended the cabinets up to the ceiling along one wall, using the verticality of the space, and then along another wall only used lower cabinets. The two opposite strategies play with a single characteristic of the space,” explains Camille. When it came to deciding on a material palette, the idea was for the kitchen to be “a composition of elements in brass, marble, and light,” Camille says. A white marble countertop with undulating yellow-gray veining contrasts with a shining brass backsplash, cabinet hardware, and toe kick—all set against a mint background, free of upper cabinets that would clutter the space. The lower cabinets and an adjacent wall with full-height cabinetry were outfitted with wood doors, but rather than leaving them with a natural finish, Coco Studio selected a deep green stain that employed a dramatic color choice without totally masking the movement and organic nature of the wood.
A key element of the kitchen was the ventilation hood, which Camille notes “is usually not the most attractive object in the kitchen. It’s often overlooked, camouflaged.” But, she determined, it has the potential to be a beautiful focal point, “giving character to a kitchen,” and so Coci Studio clad it in the same shining brass as the backsplash and gave it a strong, sleek geometrical form. It sits almost like a piece of sculpture on the wall, simple yet evocative.
In the living room, Camille and Carole continued elements found in the kitchen, designing a small coffee table with the rest of the marble from the countertop and continuing the same metal used for the glass partition frames. “We imagined this space as a whole where each element responds to one other,” notes Camille, and the consistency and mix of playful materials across the multiple spaces reflects this perfectly.