“I aim for my interiors to be eclectic as well as serene.” -Jean-Louis Deniot
Any one who is a fan of Jean-Louis Deniot’s work (and that is a LOT of you) admires the refined taste, elegant materials, balance and exactitude that go into his projects. He is a meticulous student of his trade, blending just the right mix of styles, textures, history and color with sophisticated precision and originality. His décors are his playground, spaces where spontaneity and magic are de rigueur. Recognized worldwide for his eclectic and emblematic interiors, Jean-Louis Deniot plays in a multiplicity of repertoires, never sticking to purity of style, rather letting his academic training translate into a vocabulary that is both informal and bold. If he does contemporary, it is always with a weighty dose of history and references infused into it to produce a timeless yet timely scenario.
Deniot is regularly featured in international publications including Architectural Digest (US), AD France, AD Spain, AD Germany, AD Russia, AD India, House and Garden, Belle Australia, ELLE Decor US, ELLE Decoration in France and Russia, Marie Claire Italy, More Than Classic Holland, as well as a number of Emirates and Asian magazines, making him one of the most published designers of today.
Projects include historic houses, residences, private apartments, countryside houses… from Beverly Hills to 5th Avenue to Broadway, London, Istanbul, Moscow, New Delhi, the Hamptons, Chicago, and the list goes on. We will have the opportunity to see some of these projects in his upcoming book (!!). Until then, how about an interview with the delightful Jean-Louis Deniot… where we discuss an upcoming furniture collection, tour his home, explore his design philosophy, find out what inspires him and how he would advise interior designers…
“My style is full of history and references coming from many different periods. I like emblematic interiors full of archetypical furniture which one could consider ‘New or Cool Classical’. ..The decors are never literal or featuring typical period rooms, but eclectic and very architectural, with mixed influences, and always focusing on the highest level of quality possible. I don’t do pure contemporary as to me, it has no soul. I need to have history in my work.”
Q: I read that you were trained in contemporary architecture. Please tell us what prompted you to get into the design side of the business… and do most of your projects involve both architecture and design? A: I have had a passion for interiors since I was a small child. My first experiences with design came very early on. I started drawing and painting at the age of three and progressed to making models of miniature architecture structures and interior decors by the age of ten. I experimented with many different styles such as colonial, art deco, French country, contemporary Californian, Indian, Parisian… My parents have saved some of them. At the age of twelve, I understood that I was destined to do interior design and architecture for a living. It was very clear to me. Today, each project that I do is like a first time design experience. Q: Was there any particular “tipping point” that set you into success and stardom? A: One of my first projects for a client was an apartment on Quai de Seine in Saint-Germain-des-Prés. It was for an American investment firm and comprised full renovation, furnishing and accessorizing from books to clothes hangers. As it was the only project I had at the time, I derived immense pleasure creating it from A to Z. It was a tremendous experience! Each and every project has given me satisfaction as each one has helped me to grow. I work only on projects I like, with people I like, so there is no effort of any sort. As I am passionate about every project I select and work on, I give myself entirely to it. I am very lucky to work with amazingly great clients, and with incredible laborers, craftsmen, and artisans. Each project is an achievement and I am always looking forward to the next one! I can never have enough, I always need more! Bigger and better! Q: Tell us about your upcoming book- A: My design book compiles a wide array of projects I have completed over the last 10 years or so. It explores my sensibilities and inspirations and proves a great tool for aspiring decorators as it provides useful tips on sourcing art and textiles. Working with Diane Dorrans Saeks, the author, on this wonderful project has been a great thrill and I look forward to hearing feedback on what has been a true and joyous endeavor on my part. Q: Tell us about your upcoming collection with George Smith- A: The collection launches in the fall and is a nine-piece line of sofas and armchairs inspired by neoclassicism. The pieces are highly detailed and skillfully finished featuring contrast piping, intricate tailoring and a wide array of exquisite finishes. My idea was to design pieces so unique and versatile they could stand alone in a room without any additional adornment Q: We read about your various beautiful homes… which is your favorite and why? A: When I decide to take on a project, it becomes as central to me as all of the others. The most exciting project is always the one to come as it is replete with questioning and potential evolution. I am always very much looking forward to the future. All my projects reflect the client and a bit of myself as well. I suppose there are common points and touches that link us together, although I would not be able to say which as I do not possess sufficient distance when it comes to my décors Q: Tell us of a few Parisian places or things that inspire you… A: I love my neighborhood. I work and live there. The river, the Louvres, the antique galleries and cafés… To me it is the most preserved neighborhood, the most attractive, exclusive, chic and inspiring quarter of Paris. Q: Your design philosophy? A: I tailor my décors around my clients’ styles and expectations; much like a couture dress, it must specifically fit them. My design aesthetic is French Chic, featuring timeless interiors with different variations of style and influence in an effort to attain cohesiveness and osmosis. I love architecture and always give a great deal of importance to the backdrop of my work. I use vintage furnishing and play with layering of textures and materials. I would describe my style as a little theatrical as I have a penchant for drama and love interiors. This is a business that I very much enjoy so the results are always playful and generous. Q: Will you tell us a little about your home? (these photos are stunning~) A: This space is a mix of classicism and futurism, decorated with striking pieces from the 20th century, as well as with specially created custom designed pieces of furniture. The challenge was in the size of the apartment as it is not of the usual proportions that I am used to working with. The concept was simple; to give the impression of splendor without ostentation, while remaining contemporary. The decoration is a melting pot of trends that all relate to the great tradition of French decoration, but reinterpreted with contemporary settings. Q: What advice would you impart to designers? A: A décor is like a painting. It’s all about the masses, the color placement, the volumes, the proportion, the contrast etc. in order to achieve the right balance. It’s about layers; some are predominant and some are just a backdrop. When the materials aesthetic are weak, you play with a strong piece of furniture or a stronger pattern. When the materials are strong, you then accentuate with lower key accessories. A décor is an like a 3D composition; all the elements relate and connect making something happen between all the elements from one room to another, creating an exciting story.
Jean-Louis- thank you, you are delightful and inspiring. We look forward to following the book, the furniture collection, and more of your exquisite design~
Readers- if you are like most people, this is nowhere NEAR enough of Jean-Louis Deniot to satisfy design hungry eyes. I highly recommend a trip over to his site for design immersion on a higher plane.
photos provided by Jean-Louis Deniot