In a world in which the battle for attention knows no bounds, the elegant reserve and style of Pierre Yovanovitch seem very striking. A modest star, who collects important commissions from around the world. Yovanovitch began his activity in 2001, exploring his passion for interior architecture after a career in men’s fashion design for Pierre Cardin. As founder and director of his own studio based in Paris, with an office in New York, he has received many international honors, designing residences, shops and hospitality facilities on an international level. With a passion for collecting contemporary art, he works in close contact with artists, revealing a capacity to perfectly combine contemporary and vintage styles. We can start our portrait with his home-getaway, a château in Provence, an intimate location and source of inspiration, where he returns whenever possible, to recharge.
The Château de Fabrègues is a lifetime project...
I visited the place for the first time in 2009. I remember the long dirt road, winding for kilometers through age-old vineyards and fields. I had the impression of traveling back in time. Then a sudden turn into an isolated road, and the château appeared, in an immense landscape of hills and forests… such a peaceful atmosphere… a place in which to finally feel at home!
This house represents a full expression of your tastes, with contemporary art inserted in a historical setting.
The estate had been the property of the same family from the 17th century, and this was the first time it had changed hands by purchase, not by inheritance. I wanted to create something that seemed as if it had always been there, adding a contemporary touch that would not seem out of place, as often happens. With this in mind, I spent a long time studying the architecture and the traditional local construction techniques, and I visited many places. The work took five years.
How would you describe the Pierre Yovanovitch style?
I’d say my style and sensibility are typically French, in many ways. I have a ‘haute couture’ approach, which means everything is customized, made to measure for the project. I work in close contact with artisans who have extraordinary skills, working with wood and ceramics, glass and upholstery. I turn to these talents to create unique furnishings and decorations that adapt to the everyday needs of my clients.
One example is the apartment in Paris at Quai Voltaire…
It is an original project, and I am happy to share it with you.
You have made your mark on this place, creating harmony between vintage and new things, always in pursuit of higher quality.
American mid-century designers knew how to overthrow conventions: they used steel, cork, ceramics, wood, with many variations on those materials not always found in Europe. The cork and oak table by Paul Frankl is fascinating. My passion for this period of American design is reflected in the interiors I create. I like the force and authenticity of projects carried out with almost architectural perfection, apparent simplicity, personality, elegance, and a touch of originality without ostentation or arrogance, but with timeless precision.
Besides your château getaway and American design, what are your other sources of inspiration?
I have a deep love for Swedish Grace, a design movement from the 1920s that is not very well known. Gunnar Asplund, whom I consider one of the greatest Swedish architects of the first half of the 20th century, was part of this decorative movement, as was Axel Einar Hjorth. Rigor, equilibrium, curved lines, an outstanding sense of materials, were the characteristics of the furnishings of that time. Often then were very simple pieces with a raw, organic quality, provided for example by the use of pine, but also with very sophisticated touches, such as inlays. Truly remarkable.
Your personal, unique style is applied not only to the design of the private spaces of the home, but also to hospitality projects, such as the Quinta da Côrte hotel in Portugal.
Like all my encounters, this too came by chance and through a friendship. Philippe Austruy, the owner of the hotel with a winery, and I think in similar ways. We wanted to preserve the harmony inside a UNESCO heritage site.
You have a surprising ability to listen to the spirit of a place, as in the case of the award-winning restaurant The Connaught in London, which has recently opened.
It was an honor to be asked by Hélène Darroze to redesign the Connaught. In many ways, the project reflects her personality.
You are also known for your collaborations with contemporary artists.
I love contemporary art, and I think the insertion of works of art is one of the main features of my design. I have worked with artists like Tadashi Kawamata, Alicja Kwade, Not Vital, Johan Creten, Claire Tabouret, Daniel Buren, Ugo Rondinone, just to name a few. The insertion of site-specific artworks enhances projects. I also support the work of young talents. I asked Matthieu Cossé, for example, to create a fresco on the ceiling of the entrance of Hotel Le Coucou in Méribel.
How did the idea emerge for your interiors line?
I have made custom furnishings and lamps since I began my activity in 2001. It was not until 2017 that I made my debut with the first collection, called Oops, at the gallery R&Company in New York. It represents a central part of my interior architecture work, and I wanted to make it available to a larger public. With the same gallery, in 2019 I designed a second collection, called Love. On this topic, I can only hint at the fact that there will soon be exciting new developments!
Project Pierre Yovanovitch - Photos courtesy Agence Pierre Yovanovitch