Hugo Toro Created a Travel Diary in the Form of His 344-Square-Foot Parisian Apartment


One of the biggest challenges consisted of removing all the walls and reimagining the layout. “Before I bought it, the apartment had been occupied by the same family for 60 years, without any changes,” Hugo says. “So I had to do a complete renovation. The work lasted six months, much more than the design phase, which was very quick.”

In the kitchen, the red color and lacquered wood give the feeling of being on a train or in a boat. The wall lighting fixture was designed by Hugo Toro and the curtains are by Silva Créations.

Hugo chose two complementary colors: red and green (from emerald to pale green) as a nod to renowned Mexican architect Luis Barragán. “I wanted to create a bold yet cozy architecture, and to play with contrasts through raw and noble materials,” says Hugo. The lacquered wood and aluminum—often used in boats and trains—further evoke the concept of traveling, while also strengthening the feeling of depth and amplifying the light.

“For me, Mexico is a mix of geometric forms and cozy ambiances that I like to re-create in the spaces I design,” says Hugo, who has never lived in the country but heard about it on a daily basis thanks to his mother. “Mexico also has a musicality—I grew up listening to Chavela Vargas’s songs—and the food…I love spices and smells from the plates cooked by my grandmother.”

In the bathroom, Hugo designed the sink in Breccia Parma stone, which is combined with a wicker mirror, a mahogany piece of furniture, and a soap holder in onyx from Mexico.

Several decorative elements play tribute to Hugo’s fascination with Mexico. The green sofa (created by Hugo himself) with a velvet Pierre Frey fabric is a reference to the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl, while the red hues throughout are evocative of artist Diego Rivera’s color palette. The shapes that make up the base of the bed were also inspired by Aztec geometries. Some of Hugo’s favorite pieces of furniture include the coffee table by Hélène de Saint Lager, the pink ceramic lamp by Entler Studio—which reminds the interior designer of his student life in Los Angeles—and the Fuseau planter by Willy Guhl for its sculptural aspect.

In the bedroom, painted in Lichen green by Farrow & Ball, Hugo Toro designed the bed. The Alualéatoure chair by Hélène de Saint Lager is used as a nightstand with a pink ceramic lamp by Entler Studio. The photo is by Clément Jolin, the curtains are by Silva Créations, and the bedding is by Society Limonta.

“I sympathized with the previous owner, who wanted the apartment to be ‘in good hands,’” Hugo says. “So when the work was done, I took some pictures and sent them to her. She really liked how I transformed the space. This apartment is like a train that left from Paris and made many stops in Mexico.”

Hugo’s Picks

Insta feeds to follow: Christopher Michaut @mr.bacchus

Home decor shops: Galerie Gram in Saint-Ouen, France

Destinations for design inspiration: Istanbul, Oaxaca, Vienna, and Paris

Dream buys: A cabin in the woods

Favorite detail in the apartment: The porthole in the bathroom (a reference to Charlotte Perriand)

Biggest design inspirations: My dreams

Favorite thing about your neighborhood: The Buttes-Chaumont park

Last thing you had delivered: An ashtray by Tommaso Barbi

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