Family

Nestled atop the hills of the village of Mougins, a familial workshop-house overlooks the landscape.

Marvin et Inès Angelini, Lila 5 ans et Pia 2 ans à Mougins

At

Marvin and Inès Angelini, 5-year-old Lila and 2-year-old Pia

It's a typical southern French house, a lovely home with a limestone render and wisteria, green shutters and red tiles. It's sheltered from prying eyes by a tidy, leafy terrace, a swimming pool with two sun loungers and a lemon tree beside it, and a view that overlooks Mougins. Two vases with ceramic chains sit on a pillar - a clue as to what awaits us. Below us, in the basement, there's a pottery workshop that runs the length of the house - the creative lair of Inès, owner of Umami Ceramics. This home is first and foremost a work in progress - changing and evolving - just like the family that lives here! It's the story of a young lawyer who dared to switch paths and a self-taught entrepreneur. Young parents after a new dynamic, and who want to realise their shared dreams and those of their two kids. Although maybe that should be 'four kids' as there are also two dogs. The Socialite Family editorial team was fascinated, so one sunny spring day, we decided to have a nosy.

Location

Nice

Author

Elsa Cau

Photos and videos

Valerio Geraci

Le salon des Angelini à Mougins
Détail dans le salon des Angelini à Mougins
Sur la terrasse des Angelini, vue plongeante sur le village de Mougins

From the terrace, a plunging view of the village of Mougins.

Côté piscine chez les Angelini à Mougins
La terrasse des Angelini à Mougins
Inès Angelini, Lila 5 ans et Pia 2 ans sur leur terrasse à Mougins
Côté piscine chez les Angelini à Mougins
La terrasse des Angelini à Mougins
Inès Angelini, Lila 5 ans et Pia 2 ans sur leur terrasse à Mougins
Inès Angelini, dans son atelier à Mougins

TSF

Inès, Marvin, can you introduce yourselves?

Lila

I'm Lila, I'm a little girl, and I like to draw and make bracelets.

Inès

And Pia is two and a half, she loves eating ravioli and playing with modelling clay! (Laughs) I'm 34, and I've been a ceramist since Lila was born 5 years ago. Before that, I was an intellectual property lawyer in Monaco.

Marvin

I'm nearly 37, and I'm a real estate entrepreneur.

TSF

Can you tell us about your backgrounds?

Inès

I come from a rather straight-laced family, where you were expected to study law or medicine! I chose law - I can't stand the sight of blood... I grew up in Nice and studied at Nanterre on the outskirts of Paris. I preferred to scour Pinterest for ideas during lectures... But to please my parents, I went along with it all. I sat and failed the bar exam and went on to work as a lawyer in a trademark protection company. I managed their practice in Monaco for three years. I chose Monaco, so I could be closer to my family: I'm very much a family person! The funny thing is I met Marvin the very summer I moved back down south. We lived together in Nice before settling here in Mougins.

Marvin

I was born and grew up in Cannes. I spent my teenage years in Mougins. I'm self-taught, I left school after secondary school. I just didn't suit the school system. I would have liked a more open, collaborative education with less hierarchy and the bullying you get in some schools. So after a while, I just gave up. But I couldn't just sit back and do nothing, so I started working, first as a seaside seasonal worker and then in the mountains. Then, my mum and I opened a decor shop together, Envers du décor. For me, it was like going to business school (laughs)! The shop in Mougins is still there: my sister took over from me. I worked with my mum for five years before opening a ready-to-wear boutique with... my sister. Then a kitchenware and household linen shop. Apart from that, I love architecture. That's one of my regrets: you can't be a self-taught architect... The best way to describe myself is an entrepreneur. I see my work as an extension of my private life. I don't see it as a constraint, it fulfils me.

TSF

Inès, you decided to switch careers.

Inès

After Lila, my first daughter, was born, I couldn't see myself going back to my former job - it's extremely demanding, with lots of responsibilities and expectations. But looking after Lila all day wasn't part of my plan either... I talked to her all day, but she never replied (laughs). I'm someone who needs to keep busy. I checked out the activities in Mougins and decided to try ceramics. Much to my surprise it was a revelation! I've always been creative but hadn't found my ideal medium... After my French Masters 2, I decided to study fashion at the IFM. It wasn't meant to be (laughs).

TSF

How did your close ones react to this change of direction?

Inès

I didn't know how to tell my family about such a life-changing decision. But being a mum has given me courage: it was a legitimate life choice, no need to justify yourself. We got married at the town hall after the girls were born. When I had to give the registrar my job title I told them I was a ceramist instead of a lawyer: and that's how my family and friends found out! Thankfully, my parents were delighted. My father is proud when people talk to him about his daughter, and my mum went through a tough time when her dad died, so I think involving her in my project really lifted her spirits. When I was a child, she used to cross-stitch. I asked her to take it up again! I was having trouble finding lovely lampshades to go with my ceramic lamp bases. No lie! She practised and really got into it... And is now an integral part of Umami!

TSF

Inès, did you decide to turn it into your career right away?

Inès

Well, I did start off by learning. I immediately grasped the basics of pottery and learned quickly. It's funny: I'd always told Marvin that when I was 40 I'd give up law and find a way to express what was lurking deep inside! It finally came to me. Marvin encouraged me to go for it, but I wasn't sure I should take the plunge. I was a qualified practising lawyer: I'd studied hard for it. Making and selling ceramics seemed so unlikely! Especially when we were starting a family...

Marvin et Inès Angelini, Lila 5 ans et Pia 2 ans à Mougins
Détail dans le salon des Angelini à Mougins
Salon et salle à manger des Angelini à Mougins
Marvin et Inès Angelini, Lila 5 ans et Pia 2 ans à Mougins
Détail dans le salon des Angelini à Mougins
Salon et salle à manger des Angelini à Mougins
Marvin et Inès Angelini, Lila 5 ans et Pia 2 ans à Mougins
Détail dans le salon des Angelini à Mougins
Salon et salle à manger des Angelini à Mougins
Le vase chaîné Umami

Inès Angelini

We got married at the town hall after the girls were born. When I had to give the registrar my job title I told them I was a ceramist instead of a lawyer: and that's how my family and friends found out!

Le salon des Angelini à Mougins

In the living room, Inès's Umami creations (lamp, vases, sconce) blend with the couple's finds, such as this Roger Capron coffee table and this wooden bowl signed by Woodmata.

Le coin cheminée chez les Angelini à Mougins
Détail : fresque de Charlotte Colt à Mougins chez les Angelini

On the dining room wall, a fresco by Charlotte Colt.

Le salon des Angelini à Mougins

Here, we love seating! In one corner of the living room, a chair by designer Marc Held in collaboration with the Monoprix brand.

Détail. Dans la cuisine des Angelini à Mougins
Détail dans le salon des Angelini à Mougins
Le salon des Angelini à Mougins

In the living room, Inès's Umami creations (lamp, vases, sconce) blend with the couple's finds, such as this Roger Capron coffee table and this wooden bowl signed by Woodmata.

Le coin cheminée chez les Angelini à Mougins
Détail : fresque de Charlotte Colt à Mougins chez les Angelini

On the dining room wall, a fresco by Charlotte Colt.

Le salon des Angelini à Mougins

Here, we love seating! In one corner of the living room, a chair by designer Marc Held in collaboration with the Monoprix brand.

Détail. Dans la cuisine des Angelini à Mougins
Détail dans le salon des Angelini à Mougins
Inès Angelini et sa fille Lila, dans son atelier à Mougins

TSF

Why choose the name Umami and what is the brand's style?

Inès

As you know, I'm very attached to my family. My grandfather passed away two years ago. I've kept a few things that remind me of our times together, even if they seem insignificant: a mortar, a set of scales... I thought about childhood memories, about creating objects that are passed down the generations. It's not about materialism, it's about the sentimental value, a preserved memory. Slices of life that we cherish! I always have that in mind when I create my pieces. One day, while leafing through a book, I came across the word UMAMI. I had no idea what it meant: it piqued my curiosity and I learned it refers to the Japanese 'fifth flavour'. Umami is that deep, exquisite 'flavour' that immediately reminds us of our fondest childhood memories. This revelation was a real wake-up call for me: a taste can revive memories, but an object can also give us a sense of nostalgia, through its texture, its shape, its aesthetics. With Umami, the idea is to create objects that don't just exist, but live with us and form part of our stories. Describing the Umami style is relatively simple: an understated Mediterranean style similar to Greek or Majorca that's soothing and natural to the point of being a little rough. An ode to craftsmanship and the Earth!

TSF

Which piece set you on the road to fame?

Inès

The Mediterranean vase, now the brand's best-selling classic. My grandfather inspired this piece. He had a boat moored in the port of Nice and often went out to sea. His illness had worsened, and we knew it was the end. That didn't stop him from going out in his boat: it was just the two of us and I knew it was the last time I'd spend time with him. I watched him for as long as I could and until he returned, hauling up the anchor, fiddling with the chains... Strangely enough, these chains are forged in my memory. Much later on, when I was thinking about a piece I wanted to make for my family, the idea came to me: I 'chained' it together. The symbolism was very clear to me.

TSF

How do you make these chains?

Inès

It's a coil technique. I started by rolling the pieces of clay one by one making sure they were all the same size, then I cut and assembled them. For what it's worth it would take me five days to make the vase! (Laughs) Today, it's still done by hand, but I now have a machine that produces the coils in one go. Then I cut and shape the chains one by one. It still takes quite a while, but I can now skip a step!

TSF

The brand's now five years old.

Inès

And I've been trying to really develop it for the past two years. Well, let's be honest: as much as I can while juggling it with raising two young kids! So my fledgling business has to fit in with my life as a young mum! For my thirtieth birthday, Marvin, my family and friends clubbed together and got me the best potter's tools. But as my husband always thinks big... He chose a gigantic oven. I remember saying, "Marvin, I've only got three cups that need firing!" He was thinking of future designs, the really big ones! That's his visionary side (laughs). A week later, the pandemic arrived along with lockdown. I could practice to my heart's content and I also read up on the subject. I started posting photos of some pieces on social networks... And then I received my first orders. It wasn't stressful at all, it took off by itself.

TSF

Do you manage to balance your work and family life?

Marvin

I think we manage our day-to-day work-life balance very well. We do somewhat fall into the 'love our work' category, but we also make sure we spend lots of time with the kids.

Inès

I have orders to fulfil, I have customers, I need my site to be busy, but I don't have the responsibilities that Marvin has, who works with a team and in offices. He helps me as much as he can, which means he's at home with us every weekend. He does the morning school run. He's a very hands-on dad, but we do prioritise: if one of the kids is sick, I'll fetch and look after them. I also prefer it as my mum was very hands-on. I want things to continue this way while they're young.

TSF

Is Umami a bit of a project for you too, Marvin?

Marvin

Let's just say that Umami is gradually becoming a joint project...

Inès

The aim is to join forces and get the brand out of the house, to have my own workshop, so I can hold classes more often. To have a more established concept. Ceramics saved me during a tricky time in my life. It was like therapy. As well as producing and selling, I want to share my love of ceramics with others. It's almost meditative, you need to pay attention to each gesture.

Inès Angelini, dans son atelier à Mougins

The workshop extends across the entire surface of the house, in the basement.

Dans l'atelier d'Umami à Mougins
Dans l'atelier d'Umami à Mougins
Inès Angelini travaille une pièce en céramique dans son atelier à Mougins
Inès Angelini travaille une pièce en céramique dans son atelier à Mougins
La cuisine des Angelini à Mougins : une lampe Umami

Inès Angelini

Marvin, my family and friends clubbed together and got me the best potter's tools. But as my husband always thinks big... He chose a gigantic oven. I remember saying, "Marvin, I've only got three cups that need firing!" He was thinking of future designs, the really big ones!

La chambre parentale à Mougins chez les Angelini
Détail dans la chambre parentale à Mougins
Jolie chambre de petites filles à Mougins chez les Angelini
La chambre parentale à Mougins chez les Angelini
Détail dans la chambre parentale à Mougins
Jolie chambre de petites filles à Mougins chez les Angelini
La chambre parentale à Mougins chez les Angelini
Détail dans la chambre parentale à Mougins
Jolie chambre de petites filles à Mougins chez les Angelini
Une lampe umami dans la chambre des fillettes Angelini à Mougins
Draps Como de The Socialite Family chez les Angelini à Mougins

Our

, perfect for the master bedroom.

Dans la chambre des Angelini.à Mougins
Dans la chambre des fillettes Angelini à Mougins
Inès Angelini, dans son atelier à Mougins

TSF

When did you move into this house and did you carry out a lot of work?

Inès

We found it six years ago. We were in Nice and wanted to move nearer to Marvin's family. We loved the in-between feel of Mougins: close to the city but a less stressful, more rural setting! We visited flats at first. But, you know, Marvin and his ambitious ideas... (Laughs). We ended up in a house that needed renovating. Anyway, he loves building work! On my first visit, I loved the climb up to Mougins - it reminded me of our town in Corsica! The terraced garden, too. On the other hand, the interior was horrible - outdated, dark and needed redecorating. The rooms were small and partitioned. We took down quite a few peg walls. When then began to do it up step by step, from floor to ceiling - and we haven't finished yet. The most recent work was putting in the pool's liner. Next up are the bay windows we're going to install in the living room, so we can enjoy the lovely view over the town.

TSF

Did the girls have any demands?

Inès

They wanted a cabin bed...

TSF

What environments did you grow up in and how did they influence your tastes?

Inès

I grew up in a typical southern family, with a Corsican father and Italian origins. We all lived next door to each other in the hills above Nice: my grandmother, my godmother and my parents were all neighbours. My mother is very elegant, with a very strong sense of style. She embroiders: in fact, she makes all my lampshades! My corsican grandmother was very strict, she expected me to become a doctor, lawyer, magistrate or similar. I'd just nod in agreement, I was always scared of disappointing people... My father gave me an eye for beautiful objects and I grew up in a very colourful and musical world with my beloved little sister. I was au fait with so many styles, especially here, the paintings, the faces, the colours, Matisse and Picasso to name a couple... But when I launched Umami, I had to define our specific DNA, just one style, and not go off in all directions! But I do allow myself a few exceptions at home... Like the pink armchair in the entrance hall, which my friends just don't get (laughs). I'm much more colourful than the pieces I make... My daily life isn't as understated as my ceramics!

Marvin

There was a very decorative side to our family home. There were several styles and different periods, just like the shop, but I'd say we've always had a very 'southern countryside' vibe! I, on the other hand, like to keep things simple, livened up by a few vintage pieces. Not easy with young kids (laughs). But they're growing up, so their flashy-coloured toys stay in their playroom, and we can once again enjoy calmer living areas that match our tastes!

TSF

Where does your passion for architecture come from, Marvin?

Marvin

I love the way it combines the rational, logical and mathematical with boundless creativity.  I don't think you'll find that in many jobs. I started to learn more about the different trends and eras. There's still so much to learn! Right now I'm into the 20th century, with its various styles and lack of boundaries. I particularly like organic architecture. The idea of adapting to your environment and blending in with nature. I also love vernacular architecture. A contemporary version would be my ideal. Regional influences are important to me, otherwise, you end up with identikit neighbourhoods and towns that looks the same - so depressing and lifeless.

Inès

I think there's an obvious link with your work: after all, you're a real estate entrepreneur!

TSF

Tell us about some of your favourite works and objects here.

Inès

The mural on the dining room wall is by one of our friends, Charlotte Colt. She designed it especially for us, the family, and also for Umami: it features ceramics and shells just like lots of my pieces. The hand is a symbol of mutual help: here, we all get our hands dirty here! And then there's this coffee table by Roger Capron that I got for my birthday... The enamel work is exquisite. The botanical prints are a nod to what influences me. We also have lots of little wooden Woodmata pieces dotted around the house designed by one of my best friends. She works with craftsmen from Bali.

TSF

I notice you have a lot of chairs and armchairs in this house!

Inès

I love them all, and they all have very different styles! If I had the means... One day, I hope to get my hands on a Pierre Chapo chair. I've also started experimenting with ceramic stools. There's an armchair in the living room from a Marc Held x Monoprix collab. The pink armchair in the entrance hall is Silvera's Roly Poly. The one in our bedroom was a commission from Bali... it's not part of my friend's collection!

TSF

What does The Socialite Family mean to you?

Inès

The Socialite Family is, for me, an endless source of inspiration. It is both a media platform and a brand that invites us to journey through the unique worlds of various personalities, acting as a vast encyclopedia dedicated to the diversity of interiors, each imbued with its distinct DNA. I find it absolutely fascinating. As for the brand itself, it embodies for me the quintessence of delicacy and elegance, with a touch of Italian chic tinted with a 1960s spirit that resonates particularly with me.

TSF

Do you have any favourite pieces in our collection?

Inès & Marvin

The Paolo desk, with its mahogany and beech stripes, is by far my favorite piece. Its silhouette fascinates me with its exuberant elegance and its look that seems to have come straight out of a Jacques Grange collection. For me, it's a real treasure within the collection.

TSF

What are your favourite must-visit places in the area?

Inès & Marvin

The village of Valbonne is a southern gem not to be missed. We recommend dinner at La Pigeot restaurant, which offers excellent Moroccan cuisine. Take a stroll through the antique district and the port of Nice. For a memorable lunch, Banhmei offers exquisite Vietnamese cuisine, and at Hely, you'll find a neighborhood canteen that combines quality with good wines. Nice also houses magnificent museums such as the Museum of Fine Arts of Nice, the Matisse Museum, and the Chagall Museum, each offering a unique and invigorating dive into creativity. For dinner, La Meranda or Chez Davia are must-visit addresses to savor the local gastronomy.

Umami et The Socialite Family voisinent dans le salon des Angelini à Mougins

Shop our

La cuisine des Angelini à Mougins : un vase Umami
Une coupe Umami dans la cuisine
La cuisine des Angelini à Mougins
Une coupe Umami dans la cuisine
La cuisine des Angelini à Mougins
Une coupe Umami dans la cuisine
La cuisine des Angelini à Mougins
L'entrée chez les Angelini à Mougins
Le four à céramique Umami

Concealed under a canopy, the Umami ceramic oven.

La cuisine des Angelini à Mougins
Chaise dans la salle à manger des Angelini à Mougins
Dans l'atelier d'Umami, les inspirations de toujours

On the walls of the workshop, the everlasting inspirations.

L'atelier de céramique Umami chez Inès Angelini à Mougins
L'entrée chez les Angelini à Mougins
Le four à céramique Umami

Concealed under a canopy, the Umami ceramic oven.

La cuisine des Angelini à Mougins
Chaise dans la salle à manger des Angelini à Mougins
Dans l'atelier d'Umami, les inspirations de toujours

On the walls of the workshop, the everlasting inspirations.

L'atelier de céramique Umami chez Inès Angelini à Mougins
Côté piscine chez les Angelini à Mougins
Recreate This Setting with Our Pieces
Related Story
Bertrand Waldbillig Michele Bulgherini

Next Up

Bertrand Waldbillig and Michele Bulgherini, Tobia

Exclusive Design

Our pieces of furniture, lightings and accessories are all designed in Paris by our Design Studio. Timeless, elegant and functional pieces, designed to last.

Keep-forever European Quality

100% of our creations are crafted in top workshops across Italy, France, Portugal, and Central Europe, ensuring designs built to last.

Secure Payment

You can pay by credit card, paypal or bank transfer, in complete security and confidentiality.

Europe-wide Shipping

We can ship throughout Europe, ensuring secure delivery managed by our carefully selected partners