Visiting this private mansion and meeting its owners, Patrick Gilles and Dorothée Boissier, is like the opening scenes of a film. One where the narrator is keen to tell us about its decor. Here, we’re talking about “a house that was unoccupied for several years, with crumbling ceilings, shutters that squeaked, and cupboards filled with curiosities.” It was a dream come true. A reality made better with the discovery of “a wild garden that opened onto a park.” And all of this in the heart of Paris! A world full of promises chosen to be the home of the founders of Gilles & Boissier, an architecture, interior decor and graphic design agency. In order to restore it to its former glory by introducing contemporary elements, the pair didn’t always agree. Which also means they complement each other. Seeing eye-to-eye or otherwise resulted in inspired, creative ideas. As the artistic director explains, there’s wood in all its forms – “shiny, brushed, painted, assembled, inlaid, lacquered” alongside elegant lines. The perfect balance of colours and materials, prompted by his other half. For a home where harmony rules. Simply stunning.
Patrick, Dorothée: could you introduce yourselves, please?
We’re partners in life and in work! We opened our agency, Gilles and Boissier, in 2004. We specialise in architecture, interior design, furniture and art. From projects to objects! We love anything that’s daring, generosity, simplicity and intelligence.
How did your tastes develop?
By navigating life, observing, flicking through art catalogues, working, being happy with ourselves.
When did you realise you wanted to dedicate yourself to the beautiful things in life?
After seeing Bob Wilson’s production of “Madame Butterfly”. I would have been 17 years old. An array of decors, musique, voices, costumes, lights… Beauty beyond words!
Can you tell us what you love about your work – and your partnership?
Our exchanges, seeing eye-to-eye – or not, as the case may be!
How do you work together?
Patrick is the agency’s artistic director. He creates and develops all the interior design projects with our team. I work on brand development, our furniture and accessory collection, and oversee our showroom on Avenue Montaigne. We work together when it comes to decor and objects, not forgetting the input from the artists and, most of all, our clients.
At the end of a courtyard, a sleeping house. Ceilings that never end, shutters that creak, cupboards full of wonders. The discovery of a wild garden that opens onto a park.
You’re surrounded by art every day. But if you had to choose which artists influenced you and your work, who would they be?
Paul Cézanne, Claude Monet, Pierre Bonnard, Paul Gauguin and Pablo Picasso. As well as Cy Tombly and Richard Avedon.
Tell us about this place. How did you find it?
It was a house at the bottom of a courtyard that had been unlived in for years. Crumbling ceilings, squeaky shutters, cupboards filled with curiosities. Plus there was a wild garden that opened onto a park. It was a dream come true. A reality!
How did you envision it architecturally, stylistically, or family-wise?
Firstly, we greatly admired the existing architecture and the magnificent decor. We wanted to restore its grandeur and brilliance by adding contemporary elements, but most of all create harmony in the various rooms.
Furniture designed by us, so it would perfectly fit into the space. It needed to be beautiful, practical, comfy and tactile.
What does it say about you?
No hoarding or small talk allowed! We like creating spaces where proportions, shapes and materials work together. To live in harmony with our surroundings.
During our last encounter, you told us about your love of “living” materials. How do they work in your new home?
There’s a range of woodwork – shiny, brushed, painted, assembled, inlaid, lacquered… As well as marbles, variously-veined and coloured, on display like paintings would be.
You can see colour, which adds a touch of elegance. Does this place work better than the other one?
Each room speaks for itself without colour taking over. For example, furniture with just a touch of khaki or powder pink. Plus linens and shiny silks. And lots of white, with a variety of textures and finishes.
You love historic objects. Do you consider yourselves collectors?
We have no desire to become collectors, but we do love objects that work in harmony. From photos to sculptures, ceramics, paper cut-outs or twisted rope. We live with these pieces and love them as much as the artists themselves.
Where will we see you in the coming months?
At Avenue Montaigne for the launch of our “Interior Jewels” capsule collection. Or in Italy, France or New York where we’ll be working on new house projects, hotels and boutiques for Moncler. And in Lapland, as a family with our kids, Félix and Zoé.
Photography: Constance Gennari – Text: Caroline Balvay @thesocialitefamily