Saba Ghorbanalinejad, France: Wallpaper* Architects’ Directory 2022

Wallpaper* Architects’ Directory is our annual round-up of exciting emerging architecture studios. France’s Saba Ghorbanalinejad joins the 2022 list with this minimalist home extension in Nanterre

Minimalist french house extension
(Image credit: Maxime Verret)

Emerging architect Saba Ghorbanalinejad and her studio’s minimalist extension to this Nanterre house represent France in the Wallpaper* Architects’ Directory 2022, our annual list of exciting emerging practices from across the globe.

Who: Saba Ghorbanalinejad

Saba Ghorbanalinejad’s practice embodies her appreciation for ‘things that are on the verge between beautiful and ugly, poetic and aggressive’, resulting in delicate designs and unassuming, pared-down minimalist architecture. Ghorbanalinejad set up her Paris-based studio after years of working in Paris and London as well as participating in collaborations across the US, France and the UK. Her designs are often defined by their simplicity. Another of the architect’s key fascinations is material impact, as the studio aims to expand its knowledge and capacity on the subject, collating a network of interior designers, creatives and craftspeople in order to provide the most fitting and refined skills for each project. 

In her work, old and new blend seamlessly, creating spaces where historical bold stone fireplaces and grand columns are celebrated through the crisp simplicity of the surrounding decor. Her minimalism establishes a sense of character through the use of tiny accents of colour, and gestures such as mirrored doors or gently curved walls. All elements come together to demonstrate the thought behind her well-balanced spaces, such as a home extension in Nanterre (pictured). 

White minimalist french home interior of extension by Saba Ghorbanalinejad

(Image credit: Maxime Verret)

What: Nanterre extension

Tasked with adding a 20 sq m ground floor extension to a recently renovated three-floor home in Nanterre, Ghorbanalinejad’s studio created a soft, minimalist space brimming with light and personality. Aiming to keep construction times to a minimum, the architect crafted the extension to the existing building without doing any structural work on the original house. In doing this, wires and pipes were left in place and clever bespoke joinery now artfully hides these elements of the building’s original infrastructure. A box sitting under a skylight, for example, adds nook-style seating and storage to maximise the room’s potential. Meanwhile, a nearby timber partition showcases Ghorbanalinejad's craft- and simplicity-driven style. 

Gentle colour tones throughout complement the original light grey concrete of the outside patio, and a matching concrete finish on the interior flooring creates continuity between new and existing elements. The angled top edge of another joinery element showcases Ghorbanalinejad’s attention to detail and skill in granting personality to each detail within a space. Perhaps this home’s most prominent feature is its visual exposure to the elements. The glass ceiling, with a wide bench beneath, offers a chance to stare up at the sky no matter the weather; while large sliding glass doors span the extension’s width, allowing the space to open to a natural breeze, and welcoming natural light throughout the day. 

Interior of minimalist french home extension by Saba Ghorbanalinejad

(Image credit: Maxime Verret)

Why: Wallpaper* Architects’ Directory 2022

Conceived in 2000 as an international index of emerging architectural talent, the Wallpaper* Architects’ Directory is our annual listing of promising practices from across the globe. While always championing the best and most promising young studios, over the years, the project has showcased inspiring work with an emphasis on the residential realm. Now including more than 500 alumni, the Architects’ Directory is back for its 22nd edition. Join us as we launch this year’s survey – 20 young studios from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, China, the Czech Republic, Ecuador, France, Greece, India, Indonesia, Japan, Nigeria, Paraguay, Thailand, the UAE, the UK, the USA, and Vietnam with plenty of promise, ideas and exciting architecture.

Side view of minimalist french home extension in nanterre

(Image credit: Maxime Verret)

inside a minimalist french home interior looking out towards a garden

(Image credit: TBC)


Martha Elliott is the Junior Digital News Editor at Wallpaper*. After graduating from university she worked in arts-based behavioural therapy, then embarked on a career in journalism, joining Wallpaper* at the start of 2022. She reports on art, design and architecture, as well as covering regular news stories across all channels.

With contributions from