For many years, Sonia Sieff has been living several lives. She is the daughter of iconic photographer Jeanloup Sieff and firstly belonged in the world of literature. Her current...
Aroussia Chamakh is a fashion designer and Henrik Jessen is a photographer-producer. These jobs need them to have a great sense of art, and a thought. And when it’s not for their customers, the two artists have fun creating harmonies at their place, with their daughter. Coloured, textured and always refined, in order to enhance the light brightness of every room and to make their recent moving in the promise of a new life. Parisian. Aroussia likes being loyal to her city, to its culture and architecture. “There’s everything here”, according to her. Their apartment is not going against this philosophy. Point de Hongrie parquet, moulding, chimneys and great spaces: the Haussmannian style in all its splendour, proud and suspended. Furnished with taste and sophistication, as in her numerous shootings. A real decorative identity born from total relastionship of trust with Henrik, which symbolises the solar spirit of this contemporary family and foreshadows great future moments at the fireside.
Aroussia, Henrik what do you do for a living?
I am a personal fashion and photo designer, and I also advise brands for their collections. Dressing people is what I like the most. The life of some people are so busy that they don’t have time to care about themselves, about their styles. They don’t see themselves, because they have things way more important to do than this. My job is secret, intimate, based on a relationship of trust. We both truly let go. It is a fusion. The clothes are related to the person. Then, everything is natural. Today, we live in a world where appearances tremendously matter. A lot of the customers I have feel good after I took care of their style. They need someone who deals with this form of identity they haven’t had the time to expose, explore and for which they have no interest, and even no desire. Their talent is somewhere else. Mine is to make them save time as much as possible.
I take the ideas from a customer, I merge them with mines and then realise/produce this vision in a media to promote his product as artistically as I can. I always want to bring it where it wants to go.
For how long have you been living in this apartment?
It has been a year.
What seduced you most when you moved in?
The light! The brightness it gives to every room.
The smell of my wife and of my baby!
In terms of decoration, how would you define your style?
I love when an apartment is defined by the place, which means I am not very fond of the “mix of genres”. Wood for chalets in Switzerland, lofts for cities like New York, and for Paris, something more indefinable but which is always related to elegance and beauty. I like being loyal to the culture of the country, to the architecture, the structures, and the volumes… Stupidly. I didn’t invent anything; it had already been said.
When Los Angeles in the 70’s meets the Parisian chic.
I love when an apartment is defined by the place, which means I am not very fond of the “mix of genres”. Wood for chalets in Switzerland, lofts for cities like New York, and for Paris, something more indefinable but which is always related to elegance and beauty.
Who chose the furniture?
Both of us, without hesitation. We are not complementary at all, but we have the right thoughts and the same tastes.
Where do you spend the most of your time?
In our bedroom. It is, in its own way, a bit austere, at the limit of the solemn. However, when the curtains are down, it becomes an ode to comfort and to cocooning. I love it. Looking at the sky, the view, the light, the hanging garden… This beauty is astonishing!
After our bed, I would probably say the kitchen, where I assist, taste and enjoy life with my wife.
What is your favourite piece of furniture?
The Hoffmann living room furniture: I am very proud of this purchase. It is a real master stroke. I may admit I don’t sit a lot on it but I keep looking at it!
Which artist inspires you most?
I’m instantly attracted to the Scorpion Kings – the three of us are Scorpio – and the women artists! They are so beautiful! Georgia O Keffe, Tilda Swinton. Francis Bacon and Pablo Picasso are more than artists: they are geniuses. Then, photography means a lot, and I also like a lot of Japanese artists, such as Kursawa and Takeshi Kitano: I am crazy about him. I could have married him – even if he’s much smaller than me – since I think he is original and genius! And how could I forget to quote Dylan and Bowie. They are my daily Sun Kings.
What was your education in terms of interior design and furniture?
None. There is no school for this.
My love for vintage pieces from the flea market and the “ultimate chic” sophistication of Aroussia.
Is it easy to combine nice deco and family life?
Yes. For now, we just have a two-years-old baby who learns alone about beauty. Winter is coming: we are going to spend much time in the house, by the fireside. Well, I hope so.
Yes! You just have to know all the secrets to remove the stains.
What is missing at your place?
A room dedicated to books. A real library. It is my absolute fantasy. A room where I could smoke cigars and look at the books for which an entire life would not be enough. My great guilt: I don’t read as much as before! What a pity.
A room just for me, accessible thanks to a wrought key.
What is the cheap object you’re proudest of?
The triptych: an idea we had in common. Pictures from one of my shootings we incorporated in an old folding screen a specialised workshop covered for us.
Everything we have in our bathroom! Sun is free in the bath, and when it’s not here, I turn on my “Teufel” sound system, a lamp which makes nice shadows on the ceiling – or just candles – and enjoys the reflect created by the mirrors (all found for less than 10 euros).
Do you have a restaurant to recommend, in Paris or elsewhere?
Kunitoraya and le Petit Lutetia in Paris, my two favourite canteens!
Photography: Constance Gennari – Text: Caroline Balvay @thesocialitefamily