•   The Poetry of French Interiors

With the Photographic Contribution of Don Freeman and Florian Fortier

© Don Freeman, Domaine Les Martins, Gordes, Provence 

"To not dare is to have already lost. We should seek out

ambitions, even unrealistic projects, because things only

happen when we dream."

Andrée Putman 

I have cherished my passion for French interior design ever since I was a child. At the age of 13, Art and Decoration, the French version of The World of Interiors, was my holy grail for beauty in interior design by presenting unique, opulent, extravagant, and refined dwellings while respecting the codes of a rich cultural heritage. The variety of gardens, museums, and private and public interior spaces that I was able to absorb in the last ten years gave me an idea to write this essay about the poetry of French interiors, where I will try to define some principal codes of French design. Why poetry? Because poetry is inspiration, art, a dream, a discarnate meeting with ourselves and others, a never-ending research of meaning. And I have found all the mentioned in French interiors. 

© Don Freeman, Domaine Les Martins, Gordes, Provence 

Inspiration that comes from the past

© Florian Fortier, a salon in a private dwelling, Tours, France 

The grand salon in private housing in Tours, photographed by Florian Fortier, perfectly illustrates some historical elements of French interior design. The ceiling rose, or rosace, appeared in France as an architectural element during the 16th century, when candles were the primary lighting source. Apart from tables, candles were also placed on the chandeliers, Rosettes were used to protect ceilings from direct contact with candle flames. The first ceiling roses were made of wood, then replaced by staff roses, a safer, more malleable, easy-to-apply material. Significant events, as well as fires, democratize the use of staff rosettes. Today, they are omnipresent in most typical Parisian apartments, primarily to serve as symbols of sophistication and prestige. 

Chandelier Baccarat designed by Philippe Starck. Source:  https://www.starck.fr/

The influence of the baroque style, visible in sumptuous fabrics, rich colors, ornamental carved furniture, chandeliers, and mirrors, is very much present  in the work of French interior designers like Philippe Starck Arné Quinze, Marcel Wanders, and Patricia Urquiola. Probably the most prominent french figure. As