Séverine, could you introduce yourself, please?
I am Canadian by birth and at heart, and it’s undoubtedly these roots, deep in freedom, that inspire me to live my life as a great adventure! A communicator and an entrepreneur to the core, I lived for many years in Paris, heading up major communication agencies, and juggling at a hundred miles an hour between my lives as a wonder mum and a wonder woman. The adventure and my thirst for learning allowed me to meet some wonderful people and, in particular, to set out more than 15 years ago on the road of a Zen master, Thich Nhat Hanh. That was the beginning of my path towards meditation, yoga and a new way of being in the world. In 2018 my husband and I, and a small part of our tribe, left Paris to come and settle in Bordeaux. The Satnam Club adventure could begin! Satnam Club is a temple dedicated to well-being in the heart of Bordeaux, offering a wide range of yoga classes in an area of more than 400m2.
Tell us about this professional project, your “true identity”
Satnam Club was born out of a desire to connect my personal aspirations more strongly with what has interested me professionally for years: the beautiful, the just and the collective. I needed to put more meaning into my life and, above all, I wanted to share with a greater number of people the benefits of the different experiences I had enjoyed through my discovery of the philosophy of yoga. So I wanted to establish a big house, right in the centre of the city, where it is good to settle down, practice yoga, be pampered, and discuss things.
Tell us about your house. How did you find it, how long have you lived there?
The move from Paris was planned even though we still didn’t have a house waiting to welcome us in Bordeaux. Of course, what we were looking for was complex, with the extra-large motorbike garage, the desire for greenery, the proximity of the city, the schools… But with one just month to go, we still had nothing. And then, one day, the magic appearance of an advertisement, my husband logging on at the right moment, and me taking a crazy bike ride led us to this somewhat original house. This will be our 2nd summer!
How do you use it?
The house is all on the ground floor, and almost all the rooms are set around an internal patio. Large bay windows cover its two main facades, giving an impression of living inside and out. In fact, it was more than the unconventional feel of the house that captivated my husband and me. With its resolutely 1970 imprint, designed by the architect Patrick Maxwell, it’s retained all its original raw and minimalist character. Concrete floors and ceilings, bay windows and sliding wooden doors to move from one room to another, not forgetting the bookcases and space for vinyl that had been integrated.
What have you put into it?
It’s funny, because when I visited the house for the first time, I could already see our furniture and objects fitting in. There were pieces from the 1970s that naturally suited a similar environment, but when I put them in place, even pieces I didn’t really notice any more in our previous home took on another dimension. For example, the photos placed against the rough concrete took on a different depth. I’m highly sensitive to the energy that emanates from a place, and this also comes through the atmosphere that we’re managing to create. So I had a lot of fun designing a world that is both warm and original, just as we like it to, create a new nest for the family.
There are lots of photographs around your house. Why is that?
We like photographic expression, not with a collector’s eye, but because it speaks to us. So each time it’s love at first sight, a meeting and the joy of finding it a place in our interior. What’s more, we don’t always hang the photos, so they can live in different places in the house without being fixed on a wall.
Who is the artist (or artists, all fields included) whose work moves you, fascinates you or touches you particularly?
I like Charlotte Perriand’s work very much. Her modernity, creativity and vision of design as an art of living. I’m also touched by Jean Prouvé’s refined, avant-gardist style, combined with his human qualities. And then, of course, if I could afford to buy myself a work by the committed and talented Basquiat, I’d be delighted! And if not, I have a considerable (and more accessible) love for the work of the photographer Sacha Goldberger.
You also do a lot of bargain hunting. What is your most beautiful (or memorable) find?
I love hunting out bargains, and I find that each piece brings a little of its story back into our home. Here too, it’s a story of falling for something without knowing in advance where the piece will fit in. A memory of memorable finds: the Emmaüs in Croissy sur Seine on 26 December 2014. I was decorating new offices and was looking for a few pieces to add personality. They had just received a batch from the 1970s, and it was fabulous. My Fiat 500 still remembers it! (Laughs)
Where you advise us to go to find a rare, unusual pearl?
It’s not easy because I don’t have any favourite shops. I search, I potter about. I love flea markets and in Bordeaux and I go to Saint-Michel very regularly. When I’m looking for a particular piece, I ask Anne, from Vide Déco, who knows how to find rare pearls.
Is there an era – or, failing that, a style – whose aesthetics inspire you in particular?
I love the creativity, purity and originality of the 1970s. However, what I like is mixing styles. I don’t like things that are too smooth! It’s the same with people. Isn’t it the little flaw, the roughness, the extra soul that adds character?
What time of day do you prefer to live here, with your family or alone?
I love the very early morning in the living room when everyone is still asleep. Lying stretched out on the sofa is like being in the garden, lulled by the birds singing. It’s the beginning of my ritual before I to find my rug and my zafu for my morning meditation session.
Tell us about your favourite places to go in and around Bordeaux. What are they?
The antique dealers’ district in Saint-Michel and the gloriously colourful Capuchin market. Tching Tchang Tchong for a delicious Thai on the run. Fabien and Emilie’s La table du Cent 33, pure delight, and so relaxing. A coffee at l’Alchimiste before picking up my flowers at ÂME. And then my favourite places for fashion, of course, the unmissable Inside Closet and my friend Sophie’s brand new concept store, La Gaïeté.
I love hunting out bargains, and I find that each piece brings a little of its story back into our home. Here too, it's a story of falling for something without knowing in advance where the piece will fit in.
Photography: Eve Campestrini – Text: Caroline Balvay @thesocialitefamily