what nourishes you in your profession, what is the source of your inspiration?
accepting a project is consenting to the unknown, it is going to meet a place, to enter into its history as well as into the history of people's lives, to finally propose one that brings them together. there is an alchemy that is created each time, a new story that aggregates what we hear, the way people live and the soul of the place. I believe in the deep energy of spaces, I feel powerful things in them, I like to perceive what may have happened there, to understand the reasons for the state in which it is or has been transformed. I like to return to the original state of a place, to its original raison d'être. I can only work in this way and above all I refuse to impose an architectural gesture!
what are the people or projects that constitute references for you? my references combine the worlds of fashion, art and architecture, they are all characterized by the elegance that consists in putting their soul behind each of their creations. this is the only possible driving force in my opinion. i like the work of kim jones, which is both masculine and feminine, it is of a rare fluidity, very contemporary and perfectly timeless. There is also the geometry of buren, its frank simplicity, this work on raw wood planks at the beginning. He has followed this idea until he has turned it into an artistic performance, with proportions that are his own and a precision that belongs only to him. tadao ando gives himself permanent challenges, his work marries instinct, heart, balance. this self-taught architect works with the roughest materials that exist: concrete and sunlight. finally mies van der rohe: he has quite simply created the perspective, the stolen field of vision, the interrupted perpendicular line. you walk around and go from one place to another, simply, with very few doors, axes of view that you don't expect. he creates a place with just walls, perpendicular panels that give rise to a finally circular navigation.
what compliments do you take on your work as an interior designer?
i've often read that my writing is minimal, that the lines are simple and pure... but what i really prefer is to be told that it feels good, that the balance is right, that it's warm. because minimal doesn't mean icy, on the contrary, minimalism gives free rein to everyone's expression, to the expansion of one's own warmth. my job is to let people and life occupy the space. yesterday I was invited to the first dinner of the project I just finished... these are precious moments, the space and people start living together, like a mechanism that starts to work.
the city that inspires you or resembles you?
i love florence, you can walk, stop, make a detour, discover a small square, hidden paths, enter an exhibition. everything is an excuse to stop. but i'm still an eternal lover of paris, and for exactly the same reasons. in architecture, we evolve on a very extended temporal rhythm, i like the fact that paris is a barometer of fashion and the passing of time, between calm and storm every six months.
it's knowing how to appreciate and receive. appreciating everyday life, where others would see it as banality, making each day a good omen and approaching it in a positive way, circulating the best energy, awakening curiosity, simply being happy with what you have, and this from the first coffee in the morning. And then to receive... to rally energies, to create and offer reference points, to awaken to the newness and possibilities offered by life and the eyes of those we love, to rejoice in the happiness of others. To receive is a gift that we give to ourselves as much as to others.
your favourite themes in your creative approach?
whatever the project, there is always the notion of volume, light, matter. everything is then a question of alchemy which allows you to create emotion by a right proportion, which will make you feel good.
your reference project?
The Elysée Palace, which is also my most recent project. it combines everything I've been talking about up to now. it's a place steeped in history that obviously had to be preserved while giving it a new image. rather than decorating it, i preferred to focus on the architecture of the place, its circulation, its pilasters, ceilings and windows. it had to return the place to its vocation as a space of the french republic, beyond the symbols that were there. I was thus asked to highlight what had been created under mitterand, such as the openings, the perspective of the windows under which one could walk. i found this request very humble. it was also a question of sharing and discussing with the people who work there, during the presidencies, to understand how things happen and how people live there.
what are your favourite materials, shapes or motifs?
Concrete, marble, cashmere, silk, straight lines, sometimes a curve... I see beauty in many things, but what I like in the end is associating opposites. because what's interesting is not perfection but the accident. that's what fascinates me because it's a delicate exercise. i believe in the natural balance of things and opposites.
your biggest challenge achieved or to be achieved?
building. i have an architect's soul that makes me systematically approach a project from its foundations. from the moment you create the base, the anchoring of a building, you can add satellites. i've built before but i'd like to be able to approach a public place from its foundations, maybe a foundation or a library.
your ritual in your job?
i always draw with a fountain pen, i like the feeling of sliding on the layer, of the risk of the nib slipping, of the need to control the line . as the project progresses, the nib slides faster and faster.
the gratuitous architectural gesture, I would even say the architectural gesture altogether. for me, it comes down to dressing a building without fluidity or softness, without taking into account what it has represented and its meaning. that's what I call show off. there is also the caricatured approach of wanting to focus on the outside and forget the inside, or vice versa, ignoring the balance.
if you weren't an architect, what would you do?
i am convinced that decoration, architecture and fashion are narrative expressions. my dream would have been to be a writer. it's so beautiful and important to invent stories. i do it differently in my profession, but it's ultimately also a story. a fluid project, it's a project that you can express in words without even having to show it.
a favourite place to be?
in Italy, a country that i really discovered two or three years ago. whether it's milan, florence, or venice, each destination has its own architecture and its own characteristic. there's always music in Italy...
your favourite object? how much does it weigh?
i didn't really have one. my favourite is recent, it's a statement ring. it's more like clothing than jewellery and it makes me feel like I'm finally dressed, ready.
what's important in your life?
meaning, because we're only passing through, so you have to find and create your own meaning, then share it. not listening, not smiling doesn't make sense, being unhappy even less. giving meaning to your life is creating your anchorage, from there everything is finally possible.
I have three bracelets, le grammeone 41g and two 21g in brushed black 925 silver. I wear them in accumulation because I don't like to separate them. I play with them, with their rhythm, their full and empty, placing the largest in front, then behind, the openings above or below the wrist. i like the philosophy of this brand, the way it was created, the people behind it and what they did with it.
if le grammeit were an architectural element or work, which one would it be?
the guggenheim museum. because you can't get tired of it... the fluidity of the route means you can spend an eternity and feel like you've been there for five minutes. it's part of the scenery. it's both simple and always in motion.