The term interior design might be construed as reductive as it appears to imply a sharp disconnect with the outside world, as if the inside of a house or an apartment could be conceived or designed as a stand-alone space. This would imply a failure to take account of its place in the wider environment, constituted by our experiences, influences, life style and epoch. But the interior is nourished by the exterior. It is nourished by us, by you. Our home is the sanctuary of our private life, our intimate space. And it must be conceived as a whole, as a unique personal and cultural entity.
The concept of our living space cannot, to my eyes, be reduced solely to the question of designing the interior. The very structure of our intimate environment concerns both spheres, inside and out. The constitution of the inside is inevitably linked to the existence of the outside and vice versa. According to the relationship individuals may have with their external environment, their social life, their identity and their sensory perceptions, as well as their image of the world and how they feel about it, the home can become a stage, a decorated space expressing their status, a statement of their purposes, their values, their tastes and aspirations. It is this complex nexus that I strive to identify before starting to reflect on the form and nature of the living space.
The home is characterized by the privacy of the person or persons living there. We may be said to be truly at home in our place of residence if it could not belong to someone else, being so imbued with our way of life and identities as occupiers. It is colored by the various facets, even the least conscious ones, of the individual. One of the factors of its complexity derives nevertheless from the fact that our identity itself is influenced by trends and fashions, by social constraints and by the impulse to conform.
Ultimately, the home expresses to varying degrees the balance between the social dimension and the living space as a regulator of self, depending on the uses to which the space is put, the choice and the emotional baggage of the objects present, the level of order and disorder, what is visible and invisible, the harmony or discord, the austerity or abundance, the conventions, and so on. Each action in the design of the space must, as I see it, be based on paying careful attention to the routines, habits, desires, protection etc. that constitute the relationship of the inhabitants with their environment.
Global Design of private spaces must therefore draw on architecture, design, interior decoration, anthropology, sociology and psychology. Before considering the space, I engage in intensive discussions with those who live or will live there. The future resident is the starting point for it all.
Objects allow us to express who we are. They are the tools that enable us to say something about ourselves. Possessing an object means in part becoming imbued with its qualities, its history and the meaning it contains. This is also the case for objects of no aesthetic value, when priority has been given to their practical purpose. However, I consider that all objects are functional, even those we might believe to be purely decorative as they have at very least a function of memory, constituting an external storage system, as it were, preserving memories and feelings which can be rekindled simply by looking at them.
The desire to have certain objects in one’s home can also be motivated by their aesthetic qualities, and by the emotions they trigger, through our senses, according to their design and ornamental and decorative style. We surround ourselves with certain objects to experience their charms and the association of ideas in the forms and symbols emanating from them. In addition to the symbolic aspect, a wide range of objects will of course stimulate our emotions through their expressive powers, whether figurative or non figurative.
Two aspects of our relationship with objects particularly interest and inspire me. The first is our natural ability to detect in objects analogies with the living world, its flora and fauna, through shapes, ideas, colors and materials. In addition, the object’s appeal is strengthened when it is a handcrafted object, produced as a result of the physical skills and gestures of the craftsman. The artist or craftsperson appropriates the form and the material and fashions it. The object takes shape and communicates with its creator during the creative process. This dialogue leaves its mark and the irregularities of the object resonate with us, placing us face to face in a manner of speaking, with the “soul” of the designer.
Objects are companions of our existence, functionally, emotionally and aesthetically. The aim of “design” is to establish a dialogue between the practical and memory functions of the objects and their emotional and aesthetic aspects, while making sure that they become an extension of the personal characteristics of the end user, ensuring harmony between the object and the person served.
To ensure a harmonious relationship between resident and residence, nothing must be left to chance: much care must be taken in the choice of objects, materials, colors and lighting, while ensuring the result is not an overall impression of something composed or thought out, but on the contrary a natural emanation of the occupier’s lifestyle.
To furnish the occupier with a sense of well-being arising from feeling completely at home in an environment representing the concrete manifestation of his or her identity, while at the same time providing him or her with a genuinely beautiful place of residence.
To conceive well-designed, structured and decorated environments corresponding to our needs, meeting our aspirations and requirements, and enabling us to live our social life to the full.
To create protective shells in the face of a sometimes-hostile exterior environment, notably making sure elements are included to evoke a sense of peace, softness, comfort, harmony and generosity.