January 16 2013
I land in Paris on a morning flight
from Cairo, and it is snowing.
I go home to drop off my luggage and freshen up. It always feels good to be back home. I live on Rue de Grenelle, and my showroom, studio and shop are three minutes away, around the corner at No 3, No 5 and No 19 of Rue Las Cases – just like the Chanel perfumes.
Whenever I come home from a trip, I make time to review my furniture showroom and my accessories shop. Having been away, I am able to see things from a distance, and can better adjust displays and products. I add, I take away, I move, I edit. My eye is my most valuable tool, and I use it best when I have this distance. I am short-sighted and exploit this weakness to evaluate shape, volume and colour.
I head for my studio, where I go over work with my team – a mix of architects and interior, furniture and textile designers. We are currently working on about 20 projects, including residential ones in London, Cap Ferret and Paris, plus hotels and restaurants, as well as scenography (my latest was for Galerie Patrick Seguin in Miami Art Basel last December). Others are smaller scale, such as a perfume bottle, a vase collection for the Carwan Gallery (to be launched at the Dubai art fair), jewellery for JEM, and a medal for the French government.
I turn to each project individually, the most urgent ones first. The Hôtel du Cloître in Arles is a 20-bedroom hotel in the centre of the medieval city and is due to open next April. I have tried to visually resorb the patchwork of architecture from the 8th to the 19th centuries, and to blend the old with the new.
On a larger scale, I am also working on a 57-bedroom palace in Courchevel, which I am co-designing with French architect Joseph Dirand for the Oetker Collection group.
Because I skipped lunch (to combat the Egyptian calories), I am now starving. I have dinner with a couple of friends at one of my favourite restaurants, chef Jean-François Piège’s Brasserie Thoumieux. I designed the dining room and hotel just above it.
My long day ends with a phone call to my son Miles, 16, who is at boarding school at Bedales.