Sixteen years ago, Mike Meiré was a poster boy for minimalism. “I only listened to techno and wore Yohji Yamamoto and Comme des Garçons,” says the German artist and art director, whose clients include companies like Dornbracht, Mini and Artek as well as high-profile independent magazines like 032c, Garage and Kid’s Wear. His apartment, on the fourth floor of a turn-of-the-century building in Cologne’s Belgian Quarter, had white lacquered floors, painted brown walls, silver curtains and sharp-edged walnut sofas with suede cushions. If there was a kitchen, he never used it. “It was very much like a hotel,” he says. And that was exactly how he wanted it.
Then he met Michelle Elie, a jewelry designer and former model. “She lived in Miami and she listened to Chet Baker — which has become the soundtrack to our home ever since,” Meiré says. “I realized that life is at its best when you are not following a certain path. The moment where you step over a line and you are innovative, whatever that means, and you enter an area where others haven’t been before — that’s exciting for me.”
Meiré still lives in the same building, only now with Elie and their three sons, Zec, York Jun and Casey Ny. And like its owner, the apartment has experienced a radical transformation. In 1999 Meiré, soon to be married, bought the floor below and turned it into an entrance area and a large kitchen. (Elie is a Cordon Bleu-trained cook.) In 2009 they took over the building’s top floor, adding a roof terrace, which was completed last year, and a studio for Elie. As for Meiré’s former fourth-floor bachelor pad? It’s now the children’s zone. “Every floor reflects a different stage in our life,” Meiré says.
The dining area is literally the heart of the apartment: a towering pale pink valentine of a painting by Damien Hirst (a piece the couple bought themselves as a wedding gift) overlooks a large Eero Saarinen table surrounded by a mix of white slip-covered Jean Nouvel Saint-James armchairs and Jasper Morrison Tate chairs covered in Nigerian fabric Elie picked up on her travels. The F.I.U. Montepulciano d’Abruzzo wine box on the floor nearby is a multiple by Joseph Beuys, and the colorful Aalto 60 stools were hand-painted by Meiré as part of a commission from Artek to celebrate the stool’s 80th anniversary. The vintage floor lamps, in competing pastel shades, came from Paul Smith in London, whereas the goopy chandelier hanging above looks like it might have come with the apartment.
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