“I have always been moved by Pierre Yovanovitch’s interiors and more particularly by his curated art collection. His interiors create emotions that are sublimated by his persona which is of rare humility. He says to be nourished by his professional entourage as well as his friendships. This echoes directly to the precious links I have within my own relationships. The development of le gramme is possible thanks to the team that composes the brand and to the pleasure to see it grow and evolve to its contact.”
Erwan Le Louër - Co Founder of le gramme
Based in Paris and New York, Pierre Yovanovitch, an interior architect with his own furniture line, collector of designer objects and contemporary art, scenographer, is fascinated by harmony and authentic materials and creates stunning interiors from London and Tel Aviv to Brussels and Los Angeles. His recent monograph (Sept. 2019) features 14 of his projects that shed light on the work of this space storyteller.
What feeds your style? What inspires you?
Life’s adventures, feelings, nature, cities, travel and exhibitions. But above all, my relationships with people, the discussions I have with my team, and the time I spend with artisans, artists and gallerists. They’re my entourage – my colleagues and my friends. My team is my greatest source of pride. It is like having a family around me. They inspire me.
Who are the people you really admire?
The first person to come to mind is Jessye Norman, a friend we lost recently. I admired her radical vision of classical music. She taught me a lot about how to approach projects. She was daring and driven. My idol is the architect Jože Plečnik. In the early 20th century, he completely redesigned Ljubljana. He added the Church of St Francis, public squares, bridges and quaysides.
Also, the early 20th-century Swedish designer Axel Einar Hjorth, Donal Judd and Paul László, and the interior designer Jean-Michel Frank.
And, of course, Pierre Cardin, who I was lucky enough to work with. He was a tireless visionary. Lastly, the director Patrice Chéreau, who I admire enormously.
What is the best compliment you can receive as an interior designer?
Intuition plays a big role in my work. I like the idea that, through what I do, people can feel my sensitive and sincere approach to design. I try to do things in a way that is unwaveringly close to life and the feelings it gives us.
Is there a city or destination that inspires you or reflects your personality?
Paris, at the risk of sounding trite! It is a wonderful city. You never get tired of its beauty – it has a romantic but positive vibe. In New York – where I have an office – there’s such a buzz on the streets you forget your jetlag. And Venice, its craziness and larger-than-life character – the ultimate expression of man’s ability to conceive of a city as a thing of splendour. It proves that, although people are capable of the worst, above all they have a talent for the best. All these cities are interconnected, but my roots in Provence, the light and its powerful mistral, are always there in the background.
What is the art of living for you? How would you define who you are and how you live?
I celebrate life in all its forms. I try to summon beauty at each stage. When I walk, I chose the most moving path, and when I drive, I select the most charming route. To summon beauty is to be on a constant quest, in both your inner and outer lives. Life is not easy, so beauty helps. It’s a happiness enhancer.
Which ideas inform your creative work?
When I create an interior, my first aim is to tell a story, to myself, and then, of course, to the person I am interacting with.
For my “Love” exhibition, which opened in November, I imagined a women, Miss Oops, and a pathway through her emotions in the five rooms of an apartment, staged in the R & Company gallery in New York.
People stroll from room to room and follow the twists and turns of the character’s emotions. Art is impossible without narrative and love is my favourite theme.
What’s your best achievement?
My house in Provence, which stands alone in a vast forest. It combines and simply expresses everything I know how to do and that inspires me. It embodies how I see things and draws together art, interior design, decoration, gardens, craft, furniture, etc. It’s where I go to relax and spend time with friends and clients – it’s like a family home.
What are your favourite materials, shapes or patterns?
Untreated wood of every species, and always solid wood. Ceramics. As a material, it is so alive and fascinating. It can be turned into any shape. Its colours and imperfections are constantly surprising.
Glass and metal.
What is the biggest challenge you have successfully completed or are going to complete?
The hotel we are going to open in December in Méribel called Le Coucou. We started from scratch and had just two and a half years to do everything, from the design to the furniture. This project reveals a lot of myself, it looks sophisticated but never takes itself too seriously. My biggest challenge in the future could be a move into set design for live performances. It’s my dream.
Do you have a professional routine?
I need to share and talk things over with my clients and teams. You just need to start talking to each other for things to happen naturally, by discussing and sketching together in the same room. I think it’s the most precious thing. I’ve also got into the habit of writing. I write or draw about what I think and feel... As I travel a lot, I fill the time by recounting states of being, relationships and lives.
What sort of interior design annoys you?
The sort that doesn’t change and simply follows fashion. I like risk-taking. It makes things stimulating. But I have a paradoxical relationship with objects, between my passion for buying and a desire for asceticism. I try to always bear in mind that material and form should communicate in a very subtle way.
If you weren’t an interior designer, what would you be?
A landscape designer or botanist. I love gardening. I feel an enormous sense of peace when I am planting trees, surrounded by my dogs!
Where’s your favourite spot, the place where you can usually be found?
When I’m not in Provence, I would ideally be walking around the gardens of the Palais Royal in Paris.
Your most cherished object? How much does it weigh?
A chandelier by Paavo Tynell, the Snowflake. Visually, the design is incredibly light, but it still weighs nearly 20 kilos!
What matters in life?
Over time I have understood simply that love is what makes the world go round.
Which le gramme object(s) do you own? How do you wear or use them?
I wear a ribbon bracelet le 15g in brushed 925 sterling silver. I am really moved by its simplicity and restraint – it is sophistication made matter.
If le gramme was a piece of furniture, what would it be?
Furniture from Swedish Grace. A silver table with a light, graceful and sophisticated air. I’m thinking of Uno Åhrén.
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