The Aesthete: Joseph Dirand talks personal taste

Architect and interior designer Joseph Dirand’s elegant modernist style has built an illustrious global portfolio that spans restaurants and boutiques, private homes and hotels

Joseph Dirand at home in Paris
Joseph Dirand at home in Paris | Image: Alex Cretey Systermans

My personal style signifiers are Acne’s North jeans, which suit my skinny frame, and classic Nike trainers that work well with the jeans. I prefer a simple aesthetic, so I wear both in shades of grey, black and blue. From £170; From £61.95;

The last thing I bought and loved was a Black Mirror Painting by Lawrence Carroll that is reminiscent of the arte povera movement of the 1960s. I love the purity of this abstract oil-on-plywood piece, which now hangs in a prominent place in my living room. Galerie Karsten Greve, 5 Rue Debelleyme, 75003 Paris (+331-4277 1937; 

From left: Acne Studios denim North jeans, from £170. Aesop A Rose By Any Other Name Body Cleanser, $25 for 6.8oz. Dirand’s JM Weston suede loafers, £465
From left: Acne Studios denim North jeans, from £170. Aesop A Rose By Any Other Name Body Cleanser, $25 for 6.8oz. Dirand’s JM Weston suede loafers, £465 | Image: Alex Cretey Systermans

And the thing I’m eyeing next is a cruise to Antarctica. I love travelling to really remote places such as Patagonia, or any desert, so it’s my dream destination – I am planning a trip for next winter. 

The last thing I added to my wardrobe was a cashmere/cotton long-sleeve T-shirt by Parisian brand Majestic Filatures. It is practical, soft and warm for the cooler months. I’ve also rediscovered JM Weston loafers, handmade in Limoges; I bought my first pair 25 years ago. The light-soled Moc style in blue suede is elegant and incredibly comfortable. £465; €100;


A recent “find” is Bellechasse 29 Galerie, started by gallerist Philippe Sinceux and designer and antiques dealer Alain Demachy. They stock an eclectic range of antiques and decorative objects, from 19th-century Scandinavian to French art deco – things that don’t belong together, but somehow just work. I have found some beautiful mirrors and vases there. 29 Rue de Bellechasse, 75007 Paris (+331-4533 1672; 

An object I would never part with is a pair of bespoke tortoiseshell sunglasses from Maison Bonnet – maker of IM Pei’s and Le Corbusier’s glasses – given to me for my 40th birthday. They fit my face perfectly. 5 Rue des Petits Champs, 75001 Paris (+331‑4296 4635; 

Antique pieces from Bellechasse 29 Galerie in Paris
Antique pieces from Bellechasse 29 Galerie in Paris

The site that inspires me is Villa Malaparte on Capri. I love contemporary structures and this one is exemplary. Although built in the 1930s, it still feels current. The relationship of the minimalist house to the beautiful green landscape and the contrast between the reddish building and the blue sea are pure genius.  

The grooming product I’m never without is A Rose By Any Other Name Body Cleanser by Aesop. I like everything about this natural, gentle product, including the minimalist packaging. $25 for 6.8oz;

The 1930s Villa Malaparte on Capri
The 1930s Villa Malaparte on Capri | Image: Alamy Stock Photo

An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is the American Southwest. My wife Anne-Sophie and I did a 6,000km road trip through 10 national parks, including Zion, Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon. The landscapes, colours and sunsets were magnificent, as was our stay at Amangiri on Lake Powell in Utah – the perfect, relaxing end to our trek. From $1,900; +1435-675 3999;

The last meal that truly impressed me was at Yui Edomae Sushi, a tiny Japanese haute cuisine spot in Las Vegas. The omakase [chef’s choice] menu was spectacular. Every dish, from my favourite toro [tuna belly] to the sea urchin, lobster and wagyu beef, was prepared with a magical twist. 3460 Arville St, Las Vegas, NV 89102 (+1702-202 2408;


My favourite space in my house is the entryway to our high-ceilinged 17th-century apartment in Paris, because it is both classical and warm. The Marmorino stucco walls are painted a dark grey and the conceptual artwork by Jannis Kounellis that hangs near the front door is really welcoming – it has a formal yet emotional beauty.

My favourite websites include for holiday home rentals and for travel tips. I also like the auction site for art and design inspiration.