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Design Scene: An art-filled Left Bank flat by Jean-Louis Deniot
Not a hint of the former Paris apartment survived Deniot’s masterful overhaul. What was once a mish mash of years of odd styles—from Napoleon III to Middle Eastern—had to be reworked to fit the needs and collection of a noted contemporary arts patron. Though Deniot, who describes his style as “French Neo-Classical Cool,” actually worked explicitly to avoid anything resembling a gallery—even eschewing white walls (he insists nothing looks right on white). Instead, he crafted “faux” white with glazes in tobacco tones and parchment, raffia, and wild silk at the base of the wills to add depth and texture to the spaces.
The artwork was to be a part of daily life, enhanced by simple lamps so as not to be arrogantly “on display”.
It takes an expert eye honed over 11 years of designing everywhere from his base in Paris to Bora Bora, for everyone from CEOs to royals, to be able to call for such a subtle but impactful finish. He’s a designer who knows exactly what he likes, and is delightfully blunt about his opinions. Lately, he’s “Fascinated by Smurf blue!” and “Totally tired of [graphics] now. I’m drawn to textures, woven materials, blurry abstract motifs.” On his current radar are: Anish Kapoor sculptures, Jean-Francois Lesage embroideries, Fromental’s hand-painted silk wallpaper, and Fort Street’s custom rugs. Though when it comes to his own dream acquisition, he remained delightfully, and winkingly, undecided, “I hesitate between a great Picasso and an electric can opener!”