After Berlin, here we are in your Parisian apartment. Did these two cities inspire you in the way you decorated each of these two interiors?
I think, rather than the city, it is the space that inspires me. Berlin was very neutral as a space, so I felt quite free to design according to my wishes at the time, five years ago already. For Paris, the apartment is a pure Hausmannian one. So the style is already decidedly Parisian. What I liked right away was its really open feel, almost lofty, which is rare. There are no corridors, not a single metre is wasted. One room leads to the next offering beautiful perspectives. So yes, I was very inspired by Paris for this apartment. Less by Berlin for the other, where on the contrary, I wanted a serene space in contrast with a city that I find quite traumatised.
Is there a common thread between these places?
I am told that you feel very much at peace when you enter both apartments! That’s probably what I’m unconsciously looking for. Contrast, of course, but nothing aggressive.
This love for art and design, is it related to your family background? Or are you self-taught?
Both. I’ve always been immersed in an artistic aesthetic world. My paternal grandfather established the Bayser Gallery, which specialises in antique drawings. My maternal great-grandfather, the Symbolist painter George Desvallières, had a substantial impact on the family. So there is a strong artistic marker on both sides. The taste for traditional design and contemporary art is more personal. It is the result of a more traditional and classical culture.
I haven't yet had the chance to have my nephews and nieces visit me though: they're very young. I'm not sure I'd be quite so serene with all the ceramics lying around. I'll let them play with the sheep instead!
How do your family members react to this very precise world? How do they perceive it, do they cope with it?
I’m not sure they understand the choice of pieces and associations, but they feel good when they come here! I like the combination of order and comfort. It relaxes me and reassures me. I haven’t yet had the chance to have my nephews and nieces visit me though: they’re very young. I’m not sure I’d be quite so serene with all the ceramics lying around. I’ll let them play with the sheep instead!
The apartment is dotted with works of art. How do you choose them?
It’s very much trial and error! Fortunately, the galleries are understanding. But what I like – in disorder – is above all the form, the colours, the freshness, the timelessness, the dialogue between the objects and the furniture.
Which artists and designers (…) are currently influencing you?
Camille Henrot, Imi Knoebel, Jannis Kounellis, Louise Bourgeois, Günther Förg, Jean Arp, Anish Kapoor, Alexandre Noll, Georges Jouve, Jean-Michel Frank and finally some stone furniture pieces created by Francesco Balzano, a talented designer!
How can you take it further?
The next project is in the mountains, up under the rooftops. So it’s a different world! We have already opened up the spaces, and I am working on the layout of the areas, working with the perspectives, the choices for the rooms. Each time it is a new beginning and constant questioning. Nothing is ever taken for granted!
Why not open a gallery if the world of decoration means so much to you?
I’m still very busy with The Corner Berlin! So I don’t have time yet, but I think about it sometimes.
What is the next step for you?
I am a great believer in chance encounters and the associated timing we have no control over. So I let things happen while I keep working hard behind the scenes to make them happen.
What are your favourite places to visit during your stays in Paris?
Photography: Constance Gennari – Text: Caroline Balvay @thesocialitefamily