Pierre Discusses His Unique Brand Of Design That Rewrites Tradition
Home & Decor Singapore|January 2022
“I mostly base my creative process on reinventing decorative art history in my way,” says Paris-based designer and interior architect Pierre Gonalons. “With every design project, I have a new exercise and adventure that forces me to balance many historical influences.” Pierre discusses his unique brand of design that rewrites tradition and pays homage to decorative arts and pop culture with Y-JEAN MUN-DELSALLE.

In September 2019, Pierre Gonalons opened a grand, intimate showroom in the heart of one of Paris’ most famous covered shopping passages, the enchanting 19thcentury Vero-Dodat Gallery in the 1st arrondissement. While his works reflect the present day, they are informed by the rich history of decorative arts, with a particular affinity for the late 19th century – a period of exceptionally high-quality production, intellectually and technically.

“I follow the path of the decorative arts, reinventing them in my way. The diversity of French and Italian art from different eras provides endless inspiration. I try to find the balance between multiple historical influences in all my pieces,” he tells us.

To give the illusion of a period boutique, he designed his showroom with Empire columns, panels and woodwork by Feau & Cie and oak flooring created in collaboration with CarreSol.

A New Twist

Still, there’s an air of playfulness about the space. Pierre, for example, imagined a landscape as a child would have drawn hills for his San Primo 280 sofa upholstered in Toundra boucle fabric by Hermes-owned Metaphores. His Chou vase by French porcelain and enamel manufacturer Longwy has giant marshmallow swirls, and his Tesoro mouth-blown Murano glass vase incorporates skittles.

More elaborate works, like the Lacrima mirror adorned with passementerie (decorative trimming) by Verrier, are at the frontier of art. As a designer who enjoys decorating and creating, his furniture and objects are a testament to the skill with which he designs the interiors of homes, hotels, boutiques, bars and restaurants in Paris, London, Venice and Bologna.

“When I design a product or a space, I usually have a vision or at least a sensibility of what it could be or what direction it should take,” he explains. “After that, I research the different aspects and layers of history surrounding it. I then explain my ideas to my team using mood boards and sketches.

“The process often generates many more new ideas that change the direction constructively. I am very aware of what daily life brings by chance to the studio.”

Basic Instincts

The materials Pierre chooses influence his designs. For example, to create a strong visual impact, he prefers concrete, marble, wood, and light pinks and greens. The marble, for instance, dates back to the 19th century when polychrome marble was used for the decorative arts in France.

The Palais Garnier opera house in Paris, adorned with over 50 different types of marble, is a significant point of reference, as is the red marble Grand Trianon building of the Chateau de Versailles. “I love using particular marbles because they’re naturally coloured and portray the story of our planet,” he says.

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