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In a city characterised by pale-pastel stone-built apartment buildings, the complex at 26 rue Vavin was impossible to ignore.
Designed by the architect Henri Sauvage in 1913 it took the form of a ziggurat, presenting a facade that took an extra step back
from the street with each floor. Overlaid with brilliantly white rectangular tiles interspersed occasionally with touches of marine blue,
it had been conceived as a beacon of hygiene and modernity.