Likened in part to Andy Warhol’s New York studio The Factory – a space to celebrate, share, experiment and collaborate – Silencio, a private members club in Paris’ 18th arrondissement, is a culture-rich hub for creative communities.
Opened by avant-garde filmmaker David Lynch, the club lives in the basement of 142 rue de Montmartre, a former publishing press steeped in history. Built in 1883 by architect Ferdinand Bal, and successively home to leftwing newspapers la France, l’Humanité and l’Aurore, it’s also where writer Emile Zola printed his famous J’accuse…! in 1898 and 17th century playwright Molière was reportedly buried, not to mention the murder of socialist leader Jean Jaurès across the street in 1914. It truly is a place where art and history have and continue to co-exist.
Inspired by the inky-strange Club Silencio in his film Mulholland Drive, the film director opened the impressively pedigreed spot in 2011, where mid-century Mad Men meets underground cinema in sharp, chiaroscuro light. In a city well-saturated with brasseries, clubs and bars, Silencio is quite capable of owning its own unmatched dark and secretive profile in the culture-rich French capital.
Designed by Lynch in collaboration with designer Raphaël Navot, architectural agency Enia and lighting designer Thierry Dreyfus, with furniture custom-made by Domeau & Pérès, the dramatic setting is best defined by its exceedingly intimate brick-meets-velvet-meets-mirror glistening aesthetic. The 700 m² space, built like a film set, includes a small cinema, photo gallery, secret black room, smoking room, library – and of course, the bricked corridor moulded by contrasting golden light.
Silencio is a magnet for artists, celebrities, musicians, hipsters, filmmakers and socialites; a hub for artistic exploration in varying forms. The art, events and cinema programme of the club includes concert, film and art video screenings, thematic talks and performance art. It also travels for Hors les Murs sessions, meeting its members and creative communities in France and abroad for major cultural events such as Cannes Film Festival and Miami Art Basel. (Events, artist residencies or festivals also form part of the sessions.)
Eclecticism is at the club’s heart: a place of creation and dissemination of the French and international contemporary art scene – in a manner that’s exceptionally ‘Lynchian’.