122 RADICAL CHIC

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Jac­ques Her­vouet doe­sn’t he­si­ta­te to re­veal his de­si­gn mo­dus ope­ran­di. «A well­ba­lan­ced mix of sty­les and a bit of fan­ta­sy». The for­mer ad man isn’t sel­ling a bill of goods; he’s a be­lie­ver. Af­ter wor­king for the ad­ver­ti­sing firm Saat­chi & Saat­chi for years, he foun­ded in 2005 a gal­le­ry de­vo­ted to 20th-cen­tu­ry de­co­ra­ti­ve arts that has be­co­me in­ter­na­tio­nal­ly re­no­w­ned. Ga­le­rie Her­vouet is a cu­rio ca­bi­net for crea­ting dra­ma­tic spa­ces. The fur­ni­shings bear su­ch fa­mous na­mes as Mai­son Jan­sen, the in­te­rior de­si­gn firm that sin­ce 1880 has de­co­ra­ted royal pa­la­ces from Bel­gium to Iran, Ita­lian le­gend Gio Pon­ti and the chic (and ec­cen­tric) works of lea­ding 1970s Fren­ch de­si­gners su­ch as Phi­lip­pe Che­ver­ny, Ma­rie-Clau­de de Fou­quiè­res and Fra­nçois Go­deb­ski. The ad­dress is 40 Rue de L’Uni­ver­si­té in a di­strict cro­w­ded wi­th art and an­ti­que dea­lers in the VII ar­ron­dis­se­ment. Eclec­ti­ci­sm and beau­ty in­ter­min­gle to crea­te a sty­le that Her­vouet de­scri­bes in ju­st two words: radical chic. «The mo­st se­rious mi­sta­ke that one can ma­ke in my field of work is to crea­te a sen­se of de­jà vu», said the dea­ler and de­co­ra­tor. «You need to ex­pe­ri­ment, to sha­ke things up». His ho­me is the per­fect ex­ten­sion of his way of li­ving, ob­ser­ving and col­lec­ting emo­tions th­rou­gh uni­que ob­jec­ts that are bo­th vi­sio­na­ry and bril­lian­tly han­d­craf­ted. The apart­ment, re­vam­ped wi­th in­te­rior de­co­ra­tor Sa­rah La­voi­ne, re­tains the re­fi­ned aspec­ts ty­pi­cal of Pa­ri­sian ar­chi­tec­tu­re yet rein­ter­pre­ts them wi­th a de­co­ra­tor’s sh­rewd eye. Co­lour steals the show, in­spi­red by the hues of the 1960s and ’70s. «I am com­ple­te­ly in lo­ve wi­th light grey, green, blue and oran­ge. But al­so the to­nes and the feel of ma­te­rials. For exam­ple, ve­ry thick mo­hair vel­vet. Or ma­ple, rou­gh oak, straw mar­que­try. I can’t ima­gi­ne a world in ju­st black and whi­te», he ad­mit­ted. Her­vouet’s abo­de is a sort of cul­tu­red, ra­tio­nal ca­ta­lo­gue: a bo­dy of work that ra­dia­tes calm, har­mo­ny and ba­lan­ce. From the deep blue cor­ri­dor, ador­ned by Char­les Gian­fer­ra­ri’s hu­ge mo­saic, to the di­ning room wi­th the enor­mous op­ti­cal car­pet fea­tu­ring sha­des of vio­let, eve­ry room is a co­lour­ful palette of cha­rac­ter. De­si­gn ma­sters pro­vi­de the de­noue­ment in this sty­li­stic nar­ra­ti­ve, from the Scan­di­na­vian de­si­gn clas­sics of Ar­ne Ja­cob­sen to the quin­tes­sen­tial 1960s work of Ray­mond Loewy, fa­mous for his Luc­ky Stri­ke ci­ga­ret­te pack de­si­gn (1940), Shell Oil lo­go and the lic­ke­dy-split Lancia Fla­mi­nia. When asked what’s the wor­st mi­sta­ke a de­co­ra­tor can ma­ke, Her­vouet’s an­swer was frank: «Be a sla­ve to the pa­st, the ac­cu­mu­la­tion, the ca­co­pho­ny, the ex­ces­ses». He con­ti­nued, «In or­der to en­han­ce an ob­ject or a pla­ce, one mu­st fir­st un­der­stand and lo­ve it. An in­te­rior is li­ke a me­lo­dy. The­re can be va­ria­tions but the­re should be a con­si­stent li­ne in the pie­ce». His crea­ti­ve tou­ch of­ten has a no­ble feel. He ado­res the work of the la­te de­co­ra­tor Hen­ri Sa­muel, be­lo­ved by the in­ter­na­tio­nal ari­sto­cra­cy’s big­ge­st na­mes, in­clu­ding the Ro­th­schilds and Van­der­bil­ts: «I ha­ve al­ways ap­pre­cia­ted how Sa­muel in­ter­pre­ted and mi­xed an­ti­que fur­ni­tu­re and ob­jec­ts wi­th mo­dern pie­ces». The ca­bi­net­ma­ker Jean Mi­chel Frank is ano­ther fa­vou­ri­te. «A ma­ster wi­thout equal for his le­gen­da­ry abi­li­ty to uni­te a sim­ple form and pre­cious ma­te­rials su­ch as par­ch­ment». The Her­vouet hall of fa­me al­so in­clu­des Fren­ch de­si­gner Jean Roye­re and Bra­zi­lian ar­chi­tect Oscar Nie­meyer. «Fan­ta­sy and sen­sua­li­ty rea­ch a mas­si­ve sca­le in Nie­meyer’s work». Her­vouet wil­ling ad­mi­ts to being ob­ses­sed wi­th «the qua­li­ty of the work, tho­se de­tails that you don’t see but ma­ke the dif­fe­ren­ce». And wi­th this in mind, the de­si­gner who in­fluen­ced him the mo­st was David Hicks. That is, the lar­ger-than-li­fe Brit who crea­ted fa­bu­lous interiors for royals and the jet-set. Su­ch as Lord and La­dy Chol­mon­de­ley’s flat wi­th a view of Lon­don’s Hy­de Park, walls in eye-pop­ping co­lours, vi­brant geo­me­tric-pat­ter­ned car­pe­ts, an in­fec­tious ener­gy and a glimp­se of the fu­tu­re. «Hicks’ work gui­des me. It’s the per­fect syn­the­sis of a da­sh of Bri­ti­sh ec­cen­tri­ci­ty, clas­si­ci­sm and a com­man­ding sen­se of Fren­ch sty­le». This de­co­ra­tor wi­th a ca­pi­tal D.

«An in­te­rior is li­ke a me­lo­dy», Jac­ques Her­vouet said, «the­re can be va­ria­tions but the­re should be a con­si­stent li­ne in the pie­ce». His Pa­ris gal­le­ry is the de­sti­na­tion for 20th-cen­tu­ry de­co­ra­ti­ve arts. But the Fren­ch­man, who al­so de­co­ra­tes, isn’t stuck in his ways. «You need to ex­pe­ri­ment, to sha­ke things up». Wi­th co­lour, tex­tu­res, even straw mar­que­try. And ne­ver, ever crea­te a sen­se of de­jà vu

This hou­se in Pa­ris is a ra­tio­nal ca­ta­lo­gue of co­lours, tex­tu­res and mar­que­tries

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