In St-Germain-des-Prés, the Louisiane hotel has given way to Bienvenue Design, an event imagined by Olivier Robert and Jean-François Declercq, scouting Belgian and international talent.
A maze of vintage-style rooms
Louisiana, a historic hotel, a little confidential, was not chosen by chance. Often compared to Chelsea Hotel of New York City by its residents and loyal travelers, the walls of Louisiana are steeped in history. This labyrinthine building, barely retouched, in its own juice, was the place of meetings and privileged breaks for writers, painters, visual artists, musicians, filmmakers, photographers. Since Verlaine and Rimbaud , famous personalities have stayed there, Juliette Greco , Miles davis , Nan Goldin , Lucien Freud , the Pink-Floyd , Quentin Tarantino. In 1943, Jean paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir made it the HQ of the Existentialists, a real refuge … At all times, the establishment is a home apart, participating in artistic, festive and friendly freedoms. It is also the hotel, loyal customers and artists such as Picasso, César, the couple Dali, Amanda Lear, Giacometti, Takis, Cy Twombly or even the art critic Michel Leiris, Keith Haring who was drawing on the napkins.
JEAN-FRANÇOIS DECLERCQ, TALENT DEALER, room 19
For the Belgian gallery owner, founder of Atelier Jespers in Brussels, this mythical place in Louisiana, where he stays regularly, resonated as obvious. It is a hotel that has remained authentic, mysterious, its history mingles with ephemeral events, close to my work of historical design and contemporary creation. In its scenography, it presents the French collective Ker-Xavier and the Belgian designer Arnaud Eubeleun, the Chaises du Soir designed by Benoit Maire, reissued in 100 copies by WE DO NOT WORK ALONE, produced by Fermob. In 1988 I bought my first vintage piece. Today I absorbed historical design, to reveal the talents of today. My selection of designer pieces is a personal hybrid proposal between art and design. Thus, within the winding course of the hotel’s corridors, the guest designers have invested a few rooms, to install universes that are both contemporary and poetic, closely linked to the nostalgia of the place. Particularity of Louisiana, we redo the decor, we repaint the walls, we change the carpet during an exhibition, as evidenced by the work of these four artists and designers.
LOU VAN’T RIET, DES TRIPTYQUES TACTILES, room 20
This young artist from Brussels started from the following observation: in museums open to all, we could transgress the usual gaze of the spectator in front of the works. I have always been drawn to the perception of works of art, break the rule of “do not touch”, bring the viewer closer, introduce an action. I even did a thesis on it by simply observing people, their attitudes, their behavior in front of a painting, a sculpture…. Her eye was exercised from her studies of architecture and design in Brussels, then in the megalopolis of New York where she began at the Chamber Gallery and in collaboration with the multidisciplinary artist Katie Stout. In front of the works of Lou van’t Riet, we are conquered by the plenitude of colors, the evocation large spaces inspired by his travels, lacquered steel cut to perfection that is easily handled. These triptychs, ultra resistant in enamelled steel, change shapes and colors, depending on the opening or closing of the hinged panels. With hindsight, we have another perception … Through his creations, the artist takes a step aside; the spectator is called upon to commit himself to interfere with the work and to change his gaze and his apprehension.
MARC BAROUD, CONFLUENCE OF SHAPES, room 36
We no longer present this unclassifiable, transdisciplinary designer, both interior designer and product or brand designer, oscillating between two cultures, Lebanese and French. Although he is more accustomed to neutral gallery walls than to vintage decor, Marc Baroud invests places in Louisiana by remodeling the space in its entirety. We were able to discover or re-admired the collection Dot to Dots designed between 2021 and 2020. The rooms, library and shelves Intersections, Segments tables or benches, Articulations lamps, confirm the scope and the eclecticism of his research on flexible structures or constructive principles of modernist inspiration. Its design method follows the passage from the state of idea to the state of object and opens the field of possibilities towards freer creations, evolving towards typologies of shapes and singular materials. We dive into his organic and voluptuous universe. You are absorbed by the sophisticated, skilfully polished material, an aluminum bookcase whose non-standardized modules adapt to the books you place there, or a group of modular and informal tables, which invite you to touch.
TIM LECLABART, BRAZILIAN INFLUENCE, room 38
This young designer has recently been drawing, after a first professional life at the James gallery, which specialized in Brazilian design. If Tim Leclabart fully accepts his references to architecture and historical design, it is also to better understand them, to admire them and one day, to move away from them. Represented in Paris by the Mouvements Modernes gallery directed by Sophie Mainier-Jullerot who installs his collections in guest places, he creates small self-published series, such as the Totems Axis lamps, in reclaimed raw wood, resin and blown glass. Is passionate about the history of Brazilian design of the 70s, of which he ensures the continuity with a contemporary sensibility. Witness the prototype seat, a subtle blend of American walnut, hand-made square mesh cane. I designed this armchair with the technical constraint of triplets, for rigidity, turned solid wood and cane, to recall the aesthetics of Pierre Jeanneret’s seats. Likewise, he is inspired by the Maison des Canoas, designed by architect Oscar Niemeyre in 1951 for his family, using the plans for the shape of the roof.
PALOMA GONZALEZ-ESPEJO: BIRTH OF A COLLECTION, room 40
What we like about Paloma Gonzalez-Espejo, it is his fierce desire to go straight to the point, straightforward. Her soft and talkative voice, her slight Spanish accent, we are under the spell! However, his vocation as a designer is late. After a career as a lawyer, ten years ago, she chose the path of reconversion, followed her dream and began to create pieces of furniture. His studies followed at the CAD (College of Art and Design) in Brussels, and at the end of the day, a bedside table as a graduation project. With great humility and enthusiasm, she knows how to be grateful to Jean-François Declercq, who supported her wholeheartedly. Thus began the Yume collection. I wanted this bedside to follow the shape of the bed, on the right or on the left, with secret drawers for some models. Discovering the fine craftsmanship of wood and stone craftsmen, I step out of my comfort zone, it makes me grow. The wooden furniture was produced by Casimir Ateliers in Belgium, a company which supports designers in the manufacture of their prototypes or small series. The concept evolves on the principle of elastic: the piece of furniture stretches from one side to the other, thus transforming into a console. I already have in mind a bench and a desk, which will complete the Yume family. Soon completed, this collection featuring European oak, American walnut, travertine, Carrara marble, Calacatta Viola, Nero Marquina, is in search of a publisher …