David Lynch’s Club Silencio

Part 1: The Iconic Auteur Photographs the Inner Sanctum For His Carte Blanche Series

Legendary filmmaker David Lynch captures the opulent interior he designed for Club Silencio in these photographs taken exclusively for NOWNESS. Hidden six flights below ground level at 142 rue Montmartre in Paris, the filmmaker, artist and musician christened the club after the eerie cabaret in his noir-infused Mulholland Drive. Responsible for pitch-black and surreal celluloid visions such as Blue Velvet and cult TV series Twin Peaks, Lynch has conjured a bewitching atmosphere inside the curved network of basement rooms. Accessed through a glittering tunnel leading off the cocktail bar, Silencio has an art deco cinema, reflective dance floor, a Fire Walk With Me-style stage, and a 50s art library featuring a selection of the director’s most treasured books from Kafka to Dostoevsky––not to mention the smoking room disguised as a mini indoor forest. During the week-long Carte Blanche festival, Lynch will be programming events at the club, with live shows from the likes of The Kills and Lykke Li, and screenings of his favorite films, from Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard to Stanley Kubrick’s Lolita. Ahead of hosting Silencio Fragments, an exhibition of the Lynch photographs premiered here, NOWNESS met the director over coffee at Foundation Cartier in Paris to talk dreams, memories and why you won’t find him on the dancefloor.

What appealed to you about creating a real club?
The idea of designing something and making a mood that was warm and safe, where a person could feel good just sitting and being in the space. 

Are you a nighttime person?
No. Well, I am, but I don't like to go out. I like to stay home. I like to work. I’m not a dancer. But I like the mood at night. Time gets funny at night.

When do you do your best thinking?
There's daytime thinking and nighttime thinking, and both can be good. But mostly I do like nighttime thinking. When the sun goes down, it just pushes us all more inward. It makes kind of a dream come over you. There are certain things that you start thinking about, that you don't think about in the daytime.

What's your earliest memory?
The B36 bombers or B52 bombers flying over in the sky of Spokane, Washington, when I was little; they’re giant propeller planes and they make a low, droning sound that thrills the soul. And they move slowly across the sky but they're giant, they cast a huge shadow, giant shapes in the sky making this droning sound––it puts you in a dream. If it were any stronger, it would put you to sleep.

Do you remember what propelled you to move from the canvas to film?
Yes, I remember exactly. I was in a studio, painting a picture of a garden at night, so mostly black, but coming out of the black was some green. And I was sitting back, probably taking a smoke, looking at it, and from the painting came a wind and the green started moving. And so I said, “Oh! A moving painting!” And that's what got me going.

How does it feel when you catch an idea like that?
Many times it's just a little minnow, and everybody has lots of minnows for sure. We all have ideas. But if you get a little minnow that's got gold flecks and a violet tail, and when you look at it, it shoots light into you and when you hold it, it makes you vibrate with happiness, that's a special little idea and you start falling in love with it.

Come back for part 2 tomorrow and hear Lynch muse on the lure of the woods, and why he loves smoking. 

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