An extract from The Parisians: Tastemakers at Home

© René Roche; Photo by Guillaume de Laubier from The Parisians: Tastemakers at Home (Flammarion, 2019)

The twenty-five Parisians featured in this book come from a wide range of backgrounds, but they are all united in their love of Paris—of its architecture, the harmony of its eighteenth-century façades, the elegance of its squares, in how much it means to them, how happy they are to come back after being away, and in how much they love and admire the city of light. For them, it is the only place to be, synonymous with the worlds of fashion and culture, where they find inexhaustible inspiration. They can take sustenance from its great museums and art galleries and can indulge their tastes and passions in its private galleries, antique stores, and flea markets—as the reader will see from their highly individual and distinctive living spaces, where past and present come together in collections of every variety, and where a wide range of sensibilities and ideas, whether classic or crazy, find expression. Some of these spaces are startling, none of them are dull. Many display an exhilarating freedom in their interpretation of a style or era, and in their happy marriages of disparate influences, such as furniture by Jean Prouvé with sculpture by Takis; a table by Ingo Maurer with a bowl by Jean Puiforçat; a chair by Claude Lalanne with a painting by Christian Bérard; a Venetian commode with a vase by Robert Zakanitch. Whether assembled with patience or brought together by serendipity, furniture and objects reflect each other with a quintessentially Parisian poise and elegance. Some reveal surprises that may appear bizarre, even disturbing: a life-size figure smothered by an inflated inner tire, or a human head concealed among waving grasses, or a mummy. Some names crop up again and again, others are less familiar, but all are united by the insatiable curiosity of their owners, whose historic pieces rub shoulders with the contemporary works in which Paris is so rich.

The surreal interiors of Vincent Darré

Rugged materials—steel, concrete, stone, bronze, and lava—create interiors with a rough-hewn, masculine edge, while color palettes of gray-and-black or brown-and-beige conjure up the masculine tones of tweeds and flannels. Strong lines and geometrical motifs lend strength and rigor to floors and fabrics; an oversized table, chair, or floor lamp adds an emphatic note, while a repurposed piece of factory furniture lends a severe, industrial edge to a contemporary home office. Some of these owners combine their home with their studio, living among their own designs, while others offer a reflection of their art galleries or design studios. A connoisseur of Arte Povera surrounds himself with plain, natural wood, while a fashion designer curates every precious detail with care. An artist seeks white walls and tranquility to help his work; a writer surrounds himself with piles of books; and a musician lives under the gaze of a beloved maestro.

The words and photographs contained here invite the reader to explore the homes of an intriguing group of men—including an inveterate traveler, an intellectual, an eccentric, a man of classical tastes, one of insatiable curiosity, and another who likes to shock—together offering an intimate portrait of the most influential designers, decorators, and tastemakers living in Paris today.

This extract is taken from The Parisians: Tastemakers at Home, by Catherine Synave with photography by Guillaume de Laubier (Flammarion, 2019). Buy a copy here.

  • An extract from The Parisians: Tastemakers at Home

    Andrew Gn, fashion designer

    A ceramic sculpture on a gueridon table from the Pouenat workshops.
    See Andrew Gn's 1996 flat here.

  • An extract from The Parisians: Tastemakers at Home

    Andrew Gn

  • An extract from The Parisians: Tastemakers at Home

    Pierre Yovanovitch, interior designer

    In the dining room: table and chairs in lacquered wood, a unique set by Christen Emanuel, 1923. Snowflakes brass chandelier by Paavo Tynell (c.1948), floor lamps in cerused oak by James Mont (c.1940), Grosses Relief Frau vor goldenem Hintergrund, painting on wood by Stephan Balkenhol (2009, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac). Chandelier by Tommi Parzinger (c.1940), and Biot glassware.

  • An extract from The Parisians: Tastemakers at Home

    Pierre Yovanovitch

  • An extract from The Parisians: Tastemakers at Home

    Pierre Yovanovitch

    On the hood over the kitchen range: a collection of French twentieth-century ceramic plates. Ceramic credenza by Armelle Benoit, and globe lights of Swedish manufacture, 1930s. On the left, Monotype 3503, ink on rice paper by Harry Bertoia.

  • An extract from The Parisians: Tastemakers at Home

    Pierre Yovanovitch

    Designed by Pierre Yovanovitch: the bed, reading lights, sphere cushions, and the oak confidante in the dressing room. Ash bedside tables by Paul Frankl (c.1940), chair by Milo Baughman (c.1960), and a lamp in wood decorated with white gold leaf by James Mont (1950).

  • An extract from The Parisians: Tastemakers at Home

    Jacques Hervouet, interior designer

  • An extract from The Parisians: Tastemakers at Home

    Jacques Hervouet

    Diabolo the cat seated in majesty on the geometrically patterned carpet. Sofa by Jean Royère, Pastilles tables by Thierry Lemaire, and tennis-ballinspired pouffes by Srezai.

  • An extract from The Parisians: Tastemakers at Home

    Olivier Saillard

    At the bedroom window, a lightly crumpled length of canvas, like those used to cover paintings in a painter’s studio. On the bed, an unbleached wool cover brought back from Morocco. On the wall, Francis Picabia’s customer record card at Louis Vuitton, created by Katerina Jebb after a scan of archive documents.

  • An extract from The Parisians: Tastemakers at Home

    Olivier Saillard, curator of the Palais Galliera costume and fashion museum

  • An extract from The Parisians: Tastemakers at Home

    Philippe Antonioz, sculptor

    Every room is filled with books and catalogs, files and binders. On T028, a gueridon in bronze and stone, sculpture F059. Bronze chair M021 and plaster chandelier L008. “L” stands for lumière (light or lamp), “F” for figure, and “T” for table, while the number indicates the chronology of successive sales: a tribute by Philippe Anthonioz to Le Corbusier, whose work he has always admired and who used this type of reference for his furniture.

  • An extract from The Parisians: Tastemakers at Home

    Philippe Antonioz

  • An extract from The Parisians: Tastemakers at Home

    Marc Minkowski, conductor

    Friends describe Marc's apartment as a “chic junk shop.” He likes to be surrounded by things, which he arranges in his own improvised, ad hoc style.

  • An extract from The Parisians: Tastemakers at Home

    Marc Minkowski

  • An extract from The Parisians: Tastemakers at Home

    Alain Demachy, interior designer

    Cambodia, China, Africa, Italy, France: an eleventh century Khmer statue, a console table in black lacquer, an Ethiopian chair, a painting by Mimmo Rotella, and a table by Gae Aulenti. A hanging lantern by Philippe Anthonioz, and a vase and earthenware pieces in the style of Emilio Terry by Jean-Charles Moreux.

  • An extract from The Parisians: Tastemakers at Home

    Alain Demachy

  • An extract from The Parisians: Tastemakers at Home

    Alain Demachy

    Embellished with plants arranged by Alain Demachy, the courtyard retains its late nineteenth-century charm.

  • An extract from The Parisians: Tastemakers at Home