The New York Times style editor Norma Skurka once wrote: “Rooms say a great deal about their occupants. What we choose to live with reflects our educational, ethnic, and social background, our age, and our cultural development. Rooms are the clues to where we stand at a given moment of our lives. They speak silently about how we think, what we value, and who we are.”
As our lives retreat indoors, home is no longer a place reserved simply for rest and repose: it’s become our all-encompassing sanctuary. Our spaces suddenly have to evolve to accommodate for the recreations of modern-day life: living rooms transform into yoga studios, dining tables into conference rooms, and gardens and green space replace our canceled holiday abroad.
If there’s anyone who understands the art and impact of interiors, it’s Pierre Yovanovitch, the celebrated AD100 architect and designer whose signature designs exude warmth, texture and color, defining design through a lens of contemporary comfort. We sat down with Pierre to discuss what life is like in creative confinement.
Where in the world are you spending your quarantine?
I spent the majority of the quarantine at my home in Provence. As France slowly begins to re-emerge from sheltering in place, I’m thrilled to be back in Paris where we’ve opened our headquarter doors, and the team and I are steadily getting back into work life as usual.
How are you passing the time these days?
When I’m not working, I try to spend as much time as possible in nature when I was at home in Provence, this meant tending to my garden, feeding my chickens and donkeys, and watching my dogs run around. It recharges me and provides a necessary release from outside stress.
As an architectural designer, your job involves constructing environments. Has staying home in this extended period of time change or maintain any of your design philosophies?
Paradoxically, I would say my connection with my clients, which is directly related to my design philosophy of maintaining an open dialogue, has only strengthened during these past two months of quarantine. My clients were also impacted by the forced lock down and having this shared time with them to focus on our design options and to be in regular, open dialogue with them, really enriched many of my projects. In the end, even though some projects were delayed due to the lockdown, others made great progress.
Is there a specific room you enjoy spending more time in?
My garden is my favorite place to spend time in my home. If I had to name a space indoors, though, I suppose I would say my living room. I’ve decorated the space with a mix of some of my favorite contemporary art, vintage design as well as objects from my travels over the years which bring me joy.
What are your favorite objects you’ve acquired through your travels? Tell us a little bit about these objects.
I have a collection of owl figurines that I’ve acquired over the years. They are such curious animals and I love the character each one of the pieces adds to my home.
You designed the new Le Coucou Ski resort in Meribel, and in the design, there are a lot of reference to the region’s natural surroundings. Does nature play a role in your work?
Nature is my ultimate muse. It’s a constant source of reflection and surprise for me. Whenever I feel in need of inspiration, I go outside to my garden. It grounds me and reminds me that beauty, color, and mystery are all around us every day.
- What were your inspirations behind Le Coucou Meribel?
Each facet of the property’s design, from the architectural build-out of the hotel to the custom furniture and lighting, to the interior decor is meant to reflect the history and traditional aesthetic of the region while I also worked to incorporate contemporary elements. The goal was to integrate the regional aesthetic while also highlighting the many luxury amenities available as a 5-star hotel.
Are there any site-specific pieces you designed for the Hotel?
My team and I created 130 site-specific furniture and lighting pieces for the project, made in partnership with skilled craftsmen throughout Europe. I also personally selected 160 artworks for the hotel.
Do you have any advice on how we can incorporate our outdoor environments into our interiors?
I use organic forms, refined yet bold colors and high-quality, natural materials (wood, ceramics and fabric) as a way of reflecting nature in my design work.
I’m a big fan of your iconic bear armchair. What inspired you to create this design?
The Bear chair family, Mama Bear, Papa Bear, and Baby Bear were inspired by the Goldilocks fable. With all of my projects, I let my imagination dictate my design. In this way, I wanted to create an armchair that was superbly well-made and comfortable that also told a story.
How do you stay creative in this period?
I’ve been fortunate to have a steady flow of design projects to keep me busy creatively. When I’m not working, I spend time outdoors to renew my imagination.
What currently inspires you?
I have a longstanding passion for the opera, so set design and story-telling are a continuous source of inspiration in my work.
What are you working on at the moment?
These past two months of quarantine have been productive in a number of ways. Pre-quarantine, I would spend a lot of time traveling for work, so having extended time at home to focus on creative projects has been quite useful. With my team, we’ve been working on designing a number of new furniture pieces to add to our existing collections. We also created a dedicated Instagram profile where you can see new and existing works: @pierre.yovanovitch.mobilier.
What activity are you looking forward to most, in life after quarantine?
Going to the opera!