January 20 2012
This morning was spent catching my breath and gathering my thoughts, as I am Paris-bound this afternoon for the design trade show Maison&Objet. Accompanied by one of my senior designers, I meet a key client at the fabulous St Pancras terminal and head off to Paris on the Eurostar, arriving shortly after 4pm.
We start with tea at the Ralph Lauren café, which I think has one of the most chic courtyards in Europe. Naturally, the Parisians provide efficient and stylish outdoor heaters; we manage chocolat chaud in complete comfort. We then pop into the first Hermès store on the Left Bank. As I enter I can’t help but be dazzled by the reinterpretation of this space, which was once an art-deco swimming pool, and admire the ashwood dome-like installations by architect Denis Montel.
The glamour of Paris reminds me of my work in London and a specific project that is nearing completion. I am very lucky to count Grosvenor Estates as one of my clients, and I love working closely with their team; together we have just completed the most remarkable collection of grand apartments in Belgravia. One of the townhouses has a unique outdoor garden, which was directly inspired by my admiration for French architecture and design. I encourage all the designers in our studio to travel and experience the colours and textures of foreign environments. I have learnt so much from keeping an open mind and never resting on my laurels when it comes to looking for new ideas.
So for this reason, we extend our Maison&Objet visit and include visits to a number of new stores, restaurants and hotels to glean those all-important new ideas. We dine at Hôtel Costes, which attracts a sophisticated crowd and so always has a great social scene. I can never decide if I prefer the courtyard in summer or the sumptuous burgundy velvet dining room in wintertime. We catch up on the day and enjoy people watching – we couldn’t be better placed for this indulgence.