Pierre Yovanovitch is one of CovetED’s inspirational interior designers. We love the volume, harmony, straight lines smoothed by sensual curves, sophistication without arrogance, geometry, contrasts, attention to every detail, light, authentic and solid materials present in his projects, though each one is different from the other. We adore specially one of his best known projects: a 17th century chateau in the south of france which represents faithfully the previous description. We got the chance to speak with Pierre Yovanovitch and we are happy to share with you his vision on interior design. Enjoy!
CM: To be in love with our work is always the key to achieve better results. Are you in love with this job? What to your love the most about being an interior designer?
PY: Yes, being an interior designer is exciting.
The most challenging is the fact that you need to follow an intuition and figure out how a conceptual vision can become real.
I also love the idea that creativity needs to be continuously renewed. My interiors never follow a copy/paste approach. I have my “signature” though but each project is a new adventure.
And I do love my job but it is very demanding in terms of creativity, personal involvement and energy.
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CM: Do you have a favorite project or a favorite story about one of your projects?
PY: Each project is different, each context is unique and each client is a different person.
I could not be able to mention one specific project as my favorite one but for sure a great project (and a great result) depends a lot on the client. Someone who trusts you, who trusts your taste and style, who knows how to listen but also knows how to express a point of view and a vision is … a fantastic client. This always leads to the best result.
And of course the personal project I conducted in the South of France (a 17th century castle in Provence) was an incredible adventure. It had history to be respected and revisited with a contemporary twist, it had a large garden to be created, it had an art collection to be thought and decoration to be invented.
Great stories I often remember about a project are due to talented artisans and artists I meet at this occasion: Louis Benech the landscape designer who worked on the Chateau in Provence has a communicative passion, great artists such as Daniel Buren or Tadashi Kawamata who are working on in situ commissions for private projects in Paris and New York are enthusiastic and …humble. My interiors would not be much without the contribution of all these talented contributors.
CM. How important is a perfect chemistry between you and your clients to achieve the best results?
PY: A great client makes a great project!
I love working with my clients and not just for them. Our first meetings are crucial as I try to understand how my clients live, what are their habits, their likes and dislikes.
I love sharing ideas, speaking, finding a design or a solution that will resemble my client. I never impose my style. A client should at the end live in an interior that corresponds to his personality, his lifestyle.
CM: Do you think working with teams in interior design is better or worse than working alone? Why?
PY: I think it is very important to work with a team. This allows positive confrontation. I have a large and friendly team within my studio (we are over 25, architects and designers). Each project, under my supervision, is conducted by at least one architect and one designer.
We also like to organize creative brainstorms for challenging projects. And believe me, 25 creative minds come up with many ideas!
CM: Keeping up to date on all the trends is essential to anyone who wants to conquer this market. In what ways do you keep current with the trends?
PY: It is indeed to be aware of new artists (I have a very special interest for contemporary art which plays an important role in my interiors), new materials, new technologies. However, it is not an obsession for me to be “trendy”. I like the idea (and this is what my clients tell me) that my interiors are at the same time contemporary and timeless. They follow no trend diktat. And rather then being trendy you can consider you have “conquered” the market when your clients have trusted you, are proud of their projects. There is no better publicity.
CM: How would you describe your work style? Do you have any kind of “signatures” that help to identify your projects?
PY: For sure, there is a “Pierre Yovanovitch” signature.
Volume, harmony, straight lines smoothed by sensual curves, sophistication without arrogance, geometry, contrasts (black and white for instance), attention to every detail, light, authentic and solid materials (wood, marble, stone, glass, iron, ceramic, natural fabrics, etc.).
Furniture adds warmth and personality. I like to combine contemporary vintage master pieces (from Swedish, American, or French designers for instance: Axel Einar Hjorth, Folke Bensow, Carl Malmsten, Otto Schulz, Paul Laszlo, James Mont, André Motte, Paul Dupré-Lafon, etc) and custom made pieces. I love designing solid wood sofas, upholstered armchairs, ceramic tables. And all this work involves talented artisans and craftsmen.
And last but not least: contemporary art. My clients all like art. For some projects we commission artists or chose a piece of art to start with. The interior design of the project comes after.
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CM. All artists need some inspiration to work, and interior designers are artists too. So, what or who really inspires you?
PY: Both the setting and the environment are very inspiring for a project. I will never design an interior in New York or in Tel Aviv as I would in Paris, Zermatt, Brussels or the Hamptons.
Clients for sure are very inspiring.
And then of course personal travels, visits, readings inspire me. I love art, visit many galleries. Architecture and contemporary arts are great inspirations: the work of Tadao Ando in Venice for the Punta de la Dogana or for Château La Coste in Provence, Inhotim in Brasil, Naoshima island, etc.
But I will also appreciate to visit an ironmonger’s workshop to understand how work is done and how technique and creation necessarily interfere.
Regarding Architecture, I am inspired also by French XVIIth century than their contemporaries like Sanaa, Kengo Kuma, John Pawson, Herzog & De Meuron.
CM: If you had to pick one project around the world that you wish it had been made by you, which would it be?
PY: Maybe I would mention two very different and spectacular places.
—> Stockholm’s public library by architect and designer Gunnar Asplund
This building from the 1920s is beautiful, very contemporary for its time with peaceful curves and this incredible rotunda.
Moreover Asplund designed the furniture which makes this project both an architectural and a design project.
—> La maison de verre by Pierre Chareau in Paris
This house from the end of the 1920s in the 7th district of Paris is a perfect combination of aesthetics and functionality.
I admire very much the way Pierre Chareau created a place to be lived and not just a great design.
This is also very important in all the projects I work on: a beautiful interior must also be comfortable and convenient.
CM: Choosing the best pieces to compose a project can be the secret to getting the best overall result. Although it seems easy, this is a delicate task and needs full attention on time to execute it. Do you have some tips for those who do not know well how to start a challenge like this?
PY: First of all the first item to choose and feel 200% comfortable with is .. the client! A great client relation makes a great project.
And then, according to me, the secret to a great interior design is a good lay out.
After that all the rest will come naturally: the choice of materials, colors, furniture, design, etc.
Maybe one last thing: schedule. A perfect result requires some time. Quality, details, tailor made craft and art cannot be speeded up. Promising to deliver in 6 months a project that requires 12 is a bad idea and will lead to frustration for everyone.
CM: What are your favorite brands, those that can never miss in one of your projects?
PY: I do not often refer to brands as most of our high end projects require bespoke developments. I work with wonderful artisans in France and Europe (Armelle Benoit is a ceramic artist, Pierre-Eloi Bris is a furniture maker, Ateliers Charles Jouffre are remarkable upholsterers).
However and as I know your readers are North American – and this is related to the decoration part of my job – , I want to share my passion for beautiful fabrics woven by Tara Chapas and brands such as GLANT, Rogers & Goffigon and Sam Kasten.