The Aesthete: Joseph Dirand talks more personal taste

The architect and interior designer concludes his list of likes with Japanese beer, Karl Lagerfeld’s Paris bookshop and the archeological site of Petra

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

My style icons are three stars of the past: James Dean, Steve McQueen and David Bowie. They all wore clothes in a highly individual, authentic way and carried themselves with confidence.

The best gift I’ve given recently was a family trip to see the archaeological site of Petra in the Jordanian desert. It was very special because it was just my mother, brother and myself – a precious moment for all of us.

David Bowie, 1976
David Bowie, 1976 | Image: Studio Canal/Rex/Shutterstock

And the best one I’ve received recently was a preface to my monograph, Joseph Dirand: Interior, from my brother Adrien. He is the photographer of all my work and knows me like no one else, so his words touched me in a deep way. He has seen my work – and me – evolve through the years, so I treasure the meaningful introduction. 

If I had to limit my shopping to one area in one city, I’d choose the 6th and 7th arrondissements in Paris. I love to wander these streets and visit galleries including Chastel Maréchal for 20th-century decorative arts, Jousse Enterprise gallery for furniture by Jean Prouvé and Pierre Jeanneret, and Galerie Downtown on the Rue de Seine. And I always stop at Librairie 7L, Karl Lagerfeld’s bookshop, which has an incredible selection of art, design and photography books. Galerie Chastel Maréchal, 5 Rue Bonaparte, 75006 (+331-4046 8261; Galerie Downtown, 18 Rue de Seine, 75006 (+331-4633 8241; Jousse Enterprise, 18 Rue de Seine, 75006 (+331-5382 1360; Librairie 7L, 7 Rue de Lille, 75007 (+331-4292 0358; 


In my fridge you’ll always find a six-pack of Japanese beer such as Sapporo, as well as white truffles when they are in season. My wife Anne-Sophie is a serious cook, so our fridge is always full of groceries from La Grande Epicerie: fresh chicken, fish, veg, all sorts of cheeses, as well as a ton of carrots because we drink homemade carrot and ginger juice every morning. La Grande Epicerie, 38 Rue de Sèvres, 75007 Paris (+331-4439 8100;

The last music I downloaded was Compton by Dr Dre – the perfect soundtrack for a recent road trip. I download music constantly. Anne-Sophie is a DJ, so she directs my purchases – usually 15 new tracks per week, including German, French, English and American artists.

The ancient site of Petra in the Jordanian desert
The ancient site of Petra in the Jordanian desert | Image: Vivienne Sharp/Heritage Images/Getty Images

The best book I read in the past year is an old favourite of mine: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince. For me, it’s a poetic story about life and being open to the world. I still relate to this fragile character and I think there are some important lessons in it that can be passed down to our children.

The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is Cy Twombly. I have always had a fascination with American minimalism. In particular, I love the poetry of his abstracted Autoritratto (self-portrait) from the 1960s – graphite, gouache, wax crayon and ink on paper – and his Three Studies from the Temeraire (1998-1999). I love that his simple – even naïve – gestures can create such powerful emotion. 

The preface to Dirand’s monograph Joseph Dirand: Interior, gifted by his brother Adrien
The preface to Dirand’s monograph Joseph Dirand: Interior, gifted by his brother Adrien | Image: Alex Cretey Systermans

An indulgence I would never forgo is the trips to Ibiza that I take with my family five times a year. I got married there – on the cliffs at sunset – and it is where I now go with my children to relax and unwind completely. 

The best souvenir I brought home recently was a knife given to me by the chief of a Himba tribe in Namibia. I treasure this sculptural piece and it reminds me of a very special trip. Mostly, though, I bring home memories: I treasure the discovery of new places, people and scenery. Anne-Sophie is in charge of buying things on our travels. 

Chastel Maréchal decorative arts gallery in Paris
Chastel Maréchal decorative arts gallery in Paris

The people I rely on for personal wellbeing are the tennis pros at Tennis de la Cavalerie, a private rooftop club where I play every week. And my wife, who coordinates my at-home haircuts and massages. 6-8 Rue de la Cavalerie, 75015 Paris (+331-4783 5278;

If I didn’t live in Paris, I would live in Ibiza. The quiet parts of the island are just magical and I enjoy the relaxed atmosphere. Lunches on the beach at Es Xarcu, and the delicious dinners of freshly grilled fish and paella at Sunset Ashram or Es Torrent are always highlights. Es Torrent, Carretera Sant Josep-Eivissa, 07830 Sant Josep de sa Talaia (+349-7180 2160; Es Xarcu, Cala Es Xarco, 07839 Sant Josep de sa Talaia (+349-7118 7867; Sunset Ashram, Carretera de Cala Conta, 07829 Sant Josep de sa Talaia (+346-6134 7222; 


If I weren’t doing what I do, I would probably be a photographer. My father, interiors photographer Jacques Dirand, taught me a lot about it, and I love to travel and see the world.