ONE OF THE WORLD’S LEADING DESIGNERS OPENS UP ABOUT HIS WORK AND FUTURE PLANS:
Jean-Louis Deniot is the man behind what most of us may refer to as “the French interiors of our dreams”, in a nutshell. On a global scale, Mr Deniot’s authentic design approach has garnered international acclaim and a beyond-impressive portfolio of clients and high-end projects.
Securing himself at the forefront of a competitive interior design scene, Mr Deniot practices a “classical-contemporary” approach to his work, exploring the balance between the old and new with a type of style that is not easy to come by.
Knowing what he would do with his life from an early age, Mr Deniot has spent most of his life “creating atmospheres”. His decors are vibrant ensembles of eclecticism and mystery, combined with spontaneity and playfulness – the final result always demands the reverence and adoration of its beholder.
A firm believer in balance, Mr Deniot does not fall into minimalism, nor does he approach excess. Wellbeing and harmony are often at the core of his interior design concepts, as he builds upon carefully considered layers of arresting materials and textures coupled with delicate colour palettes and flawless lighting.
Deeply rooted in the crossroads of classical design and contemporary aesthetics, Mr Deniot continues to impress and entrance with his elegant interiors that often give subtle nods to other, less recent time periods.
We had the opportunity to ask Jean-Louis Deniot a few questions about his work and vision – we simply had to find out more about his most recent accomplishment, the extraordinary Nolinski Hotel in the heart of Paris. Much to our delight, the eminent French designer opened up and further inspired us with his passion and sheer love of design.
Coshamie: Is there a particular designer or architect that has inspired you throughout your professional formation years, an icon of the industry that you look up to?
“Such great 20th century French designers as André Arbus, Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann, Jean Royère, Paul Dupré-Lafon, Henri Samuel and other marvellous designers such as David Hicks, Renzo Mongiardino, and Alberto Pinto. They all display the same passion for the history and traditions of all the interior design periods, and that is the path that I tend to follow,” says Mr Deniot.
Coshamie: Of all the interior projects that you’ve done so far, which one(s) have appealed to you the most, which ones would you consider to be your favourite(s) and why?
“I love all my projects as I love all my clients; they are all very special to me. We’ve been turning down about 50% of the job offers because I want to focus on projects that can excite and challenge me. No aesthetic repetitions, no formula, no specific pre-packaged look. My office and I love new destinations, new looks and unique experiences,” says Mr Deniot.
“Each and every project has given me satisfaction as each one has helped me grow. I work only on projects I like, with people I like. As I am passionate about every project I work on, I give myself entirely to it. I am very lucky to work with amazingly great clients, and with incredible contractors, craftsmen, and artisans. Each project is an achievement and I am always looking forward to the next one! Each project is an entirely different trip of its own!”
Coshamie: Of all the furniture collections that you’ve done so far, do you have a favourite?
“I love all of the pieces with metallic accents, because they catch the light and shine. It’s like jewellery for furnishing. Some of my favourite works are lighting pieces. I love that spoon-shaped lamp with the alabaster heart. It almost reminds me of a peacock feather. Otherwise, it’s quite hard to choose only one piece when I love so many, it is like choosing your favourite child!”
Coshamie: The Nolinski is truly a superb project, can you tell us a little bit more about the creative process behind it – how it came to life? Was there a difficult gap between the client requests and your vision, or was there synergy? Can you mention any of the lighting or furniture/accessory brands you used for this project, including your own?
“The main idea of the Evok Group was to realise something very Parisian. The decoration has been based on a private house, in a way to give the impression of a private club, complying with the format, entry, entrance hall, ‘Grand Salon’ and private salon, and to give a particular atmosphere for each room,” says Mr Deniot.
“For the reception and common properties, the inspiration was the Opéra Garnier and the Comédie Française, with the idea to create a contemporary version of a theatre décor, making the guests feel like they’re on a stage.”
“The rooms were created like apartments; the traveller, when entering in the room, appropriates the space to himself, and it becomes private. It was important for me to try to draw away from a hotel atmosphere and to get closer to a private atmosphere.”
“The setting of the place was done to avoid any white surface. Everything has been treated with dark surfaces to immerse the visitor instantly in an atmosphere that remains rigorously the same throughout both day and night. I find it important that a decor can work both, because it is quite rare.”
“The lighting comes from many different light sources, especially to avoid lighting mainly from ceilings. There are lights inserted in the floors, luminous strips inserted into the walls, other holds in the cornices, back-lit baseboards. Being in a public space, it was necessary to compensate the high rate of spot lighting by a consequent number of other concealed light sources,” continues Mr Deniot.
“This was also important in the rooms – additional lighting, with table lamps, special wall lamps, reading lamps and LED cornice to illuminate the velvet curtains. Whatever the choice between lighting types, the rooms are assured to give an impression of luxury, tranquillity and warmth.”
“Most of the furniture has been designed for the Nolinski. Eclecticism is the basis of a convivial decoration, allowing to make an impression of spontaneity and naturalness. In the dining room, the ambience of the furniture drew its inspiration from the “mid-century” furniture of Italy, France or USA.”
“For example, the sofa in the lobby is inspired by a Californian piece from the ’50s, placed next to chairs by Czech designer Jindîch Halabala, of a different kind.”
“As for the ‘Grand Salon’, it is a mixture of seats in new edition, covered with handmade fabrics of extreme refinement. Also, a specially designed double sofa refers to the so-famous benches of Mies Van der Rohe. In the ‘Brasserie Réjane’, simple ‘bistro’ chairs have been lacquered in different tones and embellished with high gaiters in black lacquer. In the rooms, on the other hand, there is a mixture of shepherdesses and seats of the Louis XVI period, with panoramic file and sputnik pouf, which ensure the incongruous encounter of the genres,” says Mr Deniot.
Coshamie: Is there a particular project you’d like to get involved with, in the future?
“The next projects are my dream project! Generally, I get excited about new destinations. I just went to Doha – loved it, and by coincidence, a great residential project might be my next very exciting project there. I would love to work in Brazil and Japan. Dream projects come from dream clients who trust me and my expertise completely.”
“I am quite an impatient person, but I believe in giving my best work, so that life will bring me all the right projects at just the right time.”
Coshamie: What do you think makes you stand out right now in the interior design industry? What do you feel sets you apart?
“I love architecture and always give a lot of importance to the backdrop of my work. I also use vintage furnishing and play with a layering of textures and materials. I am fascinated with all things vintage and with certain historical periods that I mix together to create a unique look with a strong personality,” says Mr Deniot.
“My style is distinctive because it is sophisticated with a discreet, timeless luxury suited for the client’s personality and preferences. I’d describe my style as a little theatrical as I like drama and love interiors. My work is really a French mix with worldly influences and lifestyle, as decadent as it is elegant. I truly love this business, so the results are always playful and generous.”
Coshamie: Where do you see the interior design industry going, globally, as far as trends are concerned for the next year or so? What’s in, what’s out, from your observations?
“I think we will gravitate back toward Classical furniture from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, maybe five years from now. It will be showcased in a less conventional way, less of a ‘total look’ – think Regency chests presented on a stainless steel background with a back-lit floor!”
“We need more drama, more quality, more craziness, more high voltage French style! Surely people will want to get back to the roots of decoration. Minimal is out – like in the Fashion industry, the clothes have never been so ornate, and this will be seen in interior design sometime soon,” concludes Mr Deniot.
Explore Jean-Louis Deniot’s official website to find out more about the distinguished designer and his impressive career, as well as discover his superb interior architecture projects and furniture designs. We’re certainly looking forward to his future works!
Coshamie is a London-based boutique digital marketing agency that works exclusively with interior design and contemporary art brands, with a focus on great strategies – individually designed to grow brands and fit budgets. Our #EspressoBlog mirrors our commitment to, knowledge of and passion towards design and art. To find out more, have a look at our services or one of our case studies.