Guillaume Excoffier shakes up the one-note French design scene with a multiculti shop.
Paris is currently in the grip of all things American, from burgers to Red Wing boots. Yet until Guillaume Excoffier hung his shingle two years ago in the Marais, Parisians looking for the hallmarks of contemporary American home design—Madeline Weinrib rugs, the colorful Art Deco ceramics of Waylande Gregory—couldn’t find them under one roof. “Interior design is not as globalized as fashion,” says Excoffier, who is working to change that, with stock such as metal chairs shaped like delicate trees, from the Mexican-Belgian company Casamidy, and vintage ornamental pineapples from Italy. Somehow, the mix in his eponymous boutique works. “If you put two things together that don’t match, it just looks sloppy,” Excoffier says of his design philosophy. “But as soon as you add a third, the whole thing comes together.”
Excoffier’s harmonious bedlam surely appeals to his good friend the architect Rafael de Cárdenas, who designed Excoffier’s latest, 400-square-foot store on the Rue Bonaparte in Saint-Germain-des-Prés and will soon produce a small line of lamps, trays, and dishware for it. Known for such assertively graphic, tightly coordinated interiors as New York’s Baccarat store and the Nike shop at Bowery Stadium—as well as those of numerous private residences—de Cárdenas came up with a design scheme for Excoffier that combines banded mirrors (a wink to Coco Chanel’s Rue Cambon apartment), peach lacquer and black matte steel screens and displays, a floating brass ceiling backlit by pinprick LED lights, and terrazzo floors. On paper it could all add up to, well, a lot, but step inside the shop and Excoffier’s chaos theory is proved.