What a pleasure for me to introduce you to the world of my friend, Mary Erlingsen. An artist through and through, her apartment reflects her personality. Classic yet classy, Mary has made some strong choices. This dreamer, who is totally rock ‘n’ roll, tells us a bit about herself through her furniture, her paintings and the items that are her reference points. They are objects that she has picked up on her travels and through her encounters. Creative and talented, she reveals her apartment to us. It is a little jewel that she has designed as a backdrop. Completely redesigned from floor to ceiling for her family life, she has chosen a layout that is both beautiful and functional. She has chosen strong materials, resulting in an abundance of style and elegance which reflects her own style and elegance. I am a mega-fan!
Mary, what do you work at? Can you introduce yourself?
Norwegian at heart, Parisian by choice, I trained as an interior architect at Ecole Boulle and as a stylist at the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne. For over ten years, I have been working as an artistic director and designer of luxury homes, in fashion, jewellery, etc. Travelling between Place Vendôme, London and a few Parisian apartments, I wear many hats, from scenography, design and creating window dressing through to interior design. While being simultaneously sensitive to forms, materials and colours, I like working on projects that have a story to tell. A trunk, a camellia, a panther, a colour – my work delves into the imagination of a house, always looking to carry it even further while magnifying its roots and its history.
In terms of interior design, what education did you have?
A native of Toulouse, as a child I would go to the Sunday flea markets with my mother, who was passionate about the 1930s and Bauhaus. We would always go home with an unusual souvenir, which for me was a treasure bursting with stories.
How is the taste for beauty and beautiful materials communicated to a child?
It is a passion that is transmitted daily without necessarily realising it. I have noticed that for children, “beautiful” often begins with what, for the senses, is “good’. From choosing a baguette, to tasting of a spoon of chocolate cake, smelling a flower and listening to a tune, through to touching a sculpture while wandering through the Louvre. Life is theatre! Ultimately, everything is just composition, colour, material, sound and smell. You have to awaken the senses. All of them. Children are open to everything! It is magical. Afterwards, they keep what they want to. I offer my girls my viewpoint and a colour pallet, and they might just make something of it.
Are good design and family life compatible?
Yes, as long as you are a slave to tidiness!! And I am afraid that I am somewhat…
What works of art, objects or furniture do you prefer having at home?
The letters that my grandmother has been sending to her great-granddaughters every week since they were born.
The work of art of your wildest dreams?
Guernica. Although it could be a tad cumbersome! That painting fascinates me so much. Picasso’s work, this machine for creating beauty.
Where in your home do you feel most comfortable?
I feel good everywhere. Light passes through the space, there is always a ray to follow, an array of greenery to look at; it is very soothing.
What is missing in your home?
A room! There is always a room missing as well as the sea! I would like to be able to reinvent each room every day, like a surrealist painting. To be able to run with my subconscious and live amongst surrealist encounters! A blending of people and genres.
Any design advice to give us?
Mix up your most-loved pieces.
What error of bad taste should not be committed?
Not trying anything for fear of committing one. I like it when mistakes become the adopted style. You should not take yourself too seriously.
The cheapest item of which you are most proud?
The plastic animal masks in the girls’ bedroom. At home, it is a real zoo that tidies itself neatly away on its wall of Fornasetti clouds…
The latest restaurant that you would recommend in Paris or elsewhere?
The best addresses for design either online or in Paris?
Your upcoming projects?
The upcoming “BLACK” exhibition, a graphic work using leather and light… keep an eye out.
Mary’s work : firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo Credits : Constance Gennari@thesocialitefamily.com
Translation by TextMaster