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Pierre Yovanovitch: Warmth and Rigor, Poetry and Structure

As one of the most influential and admired interior designers of his generation, Pierre Yovanovitch has helped to usher in a new era of so-called quiet luxury. Celebrating a milestone in his lauded furniture line, he chats with Dan about his humble beginnings, and how he recharges his creative batteries.

April 3, 2024 By THE GRAND TOURIST
Photo: Paolo Abate


As one of the most influential and admired interior designers of his generation, Pierre Yovanovitch has helped to usher in a new era of so-called quiet luxury. Celebrating 10 years since the launch of his own furniture line and the opening of a new gallery in New York, Dan speaks with the Paris-based trailblazer about his youth playing piano, what it was like working for fashion legend Pierre Cardin, how his American clients actually vary from his French ones, and more.

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Pierre Yovanovitch: Gardening I think it’s very interesting because you always project yourself in the future and I always dream about what is going to look in 10 years and I always like that in my own business also, I always looking tomorrow, not looking the past because the past it’s important, but I’m always looking for today’s and tomorrow.

Dan Rubinstein: Hi, I’m Dan Rubinstein and this is The Grand Tourist. I’ve been a design journalist for nearly 20 years and this is my personalized guided tour to the world’s fashion, art, architecture, food, and travel, all the elements of a well lived life. Before we get started, just a little programming note, this is the last episode of season nine, but we’ll be back in just a month on May 1st with our first episode of season 10. And did you know we also have a newsletter called The Grand Tourist Curator? Make sure you sign up. Not only does it announce all of our new episodes, but it’s also packed with original content each Wednesday where we curate the best from the world of The Grand Tourist just for you with new museum and gallery openings, advice from artists, designers, and journalists and more. So sign up today at or at the link in my bio on Instagram @danrubinstein.

Now back to the show. My guest today is arguably one of the most influential interior designers of the 21st century. Through his residential projects, hotels, offices for the likes of caring, collaborations and furniture, his aesthetic has inspired an entire generation of French talent and a lot of Americans too. Paris based visionary, Pierre Yovanovitch. His style combines French modernism with a love of the Swedish grace movement. His studio’s work has the minimal and textured style of the first half of the 20th century, mixed with a rustic elegance you might see in a Swiss ski chalet, all with the cool color palette of something utterly Scandinavian. Pierre started his career in the fashion business working for the legendary designer Pierre Cardin, when he decided to shift gears to design in 2001. About 10 years ago, he started producing his own line of furniture where large curved sofas are made from solid oak with a chic yet rustic appeal.

Some of his pieces are adorned with hand stitched decorations that subtly hint at the handmade nature of all of his pieces. He recently opened a new furniture gallery in Paris as well as another in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood next to blue chip art dealers where the painting sold are sometimes more affordable than Pierre’s coffee tables. He recently designed a set for the opera in Basel, Switzerland. He’s done collaborations with Dior and others. I’ve always thought of Pierre as a kind of present day Yves Saint Laurent slender, unassuming with a sense of impeccable taste, second to none and that certain French flair that’s impossible to ignore.

But behind all the glamour, he’s quite the introspective chap who prefers to garden in his spare time as private and remote Chateau in Provence, listen to classical music and stay somewhat out of the spotlight. I caught up with Pierre from his studio in Paris to discuss his youth playing piano, what Pier Cardin was like as the boss, what he really thinks about his American clients and more.


I wanted to start at the very beginning and I read that you were born in Nice and that your parents’ families were from Algeria and Serbia. So I’m kind of curious what your parents did and what they were like.

It’s a mix. Yeah, my family is a big mixture. My parents live in Algeria until 1963, a year after the independence, after their marriage, my father had moved to Oran, Oran is the second-biggest city in Algeria where my mother family lives. But my mother family was originally from French health and had been established for a long time. My father was born to a Serbian father and a French mother who had also moved after their marriage from [inaudible 00:04:03] to Switzerland. Even their lead them to immigrate to Switzerland. I was born in Nice, where a lot of my French, well, a lot of French family move after the independence of Algeria and it’s where I grew up.

So yes, there is some uprooting in my history I can say of my family, but I don’t think so I define me. You could even say that I consider myself against the persuasive nostalgia of bygone days. There is a vibe of nostalgic string in me, but I would say that my epistemic side is much stronger than this. What really matter is where I grew up. I was blessed to live in this part of this world because of the stunning light, amazing landscape with the present of the sea and also the richness of the artistic life, particularly in the 20th century where there’s a lot of artists, famous artists were living there. My outlook on life and a lot of my work come I think from there.

And your parents in creative professions at all?

They wasn’t creative at all. My father was a businessman and my mother was taking care of their child. I have two sisters.

Ah, okay. Are the sisters older than you or younger?

Yeah, a little older, one year than one year.

Okay. When you were a child and you played on the piano, was there a song that you played for fun that you enjoyed the most?

It was very easy for me, Chopin, but very classical. I learned in classical way, not classical music like Chopin, Beethoven, very easy to do it and unfortunately I stopped to play piano when I moved from Nice to Paris. Now I have a piano, but I have no time to start again to taking lessons, but I really wish I have more time. I think time is the luxurious part of our life that you don’t do sometime you miss and that’s the problem. But I always, even in the morning, the first thing I do is open my Spotify and listen music and I think I couldn’t live without music. And also for example, when I walk, I listen music, when I’m in the plane, it’s really part of my life.

Do you listen to music when you’re working, like when you’re designing?

Not really, no. I listen music very loud, not loudly, with a song very low when I’m reading sometimes and in the plane a lot. And my second life, it’s my second home, it’s in a plane and yeah, that’s music that maybe it’s not very good for your ears, but I do.

And every bio of yours mentions your eight-year stint doing men’s wear for Pierre Cardin and starting in 2001. So did you study fashion or how did that happen?

No, not at all. It’s really by chance after graduating my high school in Nice and after I went in a business school in Paris, I was about to start my military service, which it was obligatory in France at this time. Now it’s not. And I met Pierre Cardin by chance because a friend of mine was working for him and he offered me on what I say apprenticeship. And I did work for East Side for eight years as a menswear licensee manager of the Benelux business. And then as a designer of men collections, when I moved back from Benelux to Brussels to Paris to men’s menswear collection. And it was that I developed passion for shape and form.

Did you love it? I mean you stayed for eight years.

I love it. I love it. All my life was a lot of time by coincidence because I didn’t know anything about fashion. I think I have a talent inside of me, this very big interest, intuitive part of my life. And also I must say that I learned a lot working very closely of Pierre Cardin and I quickly realized how lucky I was to be along such a visionary personality and also an incredible businessman. Pierre Cardin was a real, he was an artist but also a businessman, which is sometimes you have only one side, but Pierre Cardin have two side of talent.

And what was he like as a person, as a boss?

Pierre Cardin, I will say he was like an architect of closing. You have a very strong sense of geometry, volume, angle, curves, which now it’s playing with my work often as an interior designer. He had also mastery of colors and pattern, very strong highs. Now I think everything I learned now, I think it’s from him. And I think it was very interesting to start this way, not to start really a debut, which I think I will miss a lot of things without this first experience.

And there are many examples of fashion designers of your generation shifting to interiors. So I was wondering how did that happen for you? And obviously you had this amazing experience, so how did that shift happen?

Working with Pierre Cardin was originally an opportunistic move that I could not miss. I think I had a great time with him and learned a lot as I say. But I will say from the beginning my heart was more in interior design, then I switched very quickly after eight years, I’d say to Pierre Cardin one day that fashion wasn’t my world and I think I wanted to be by myself to have more freedom, more independence also. And I really cannot live with this kind of sense of freedom.

Did he take it well?

Not really at this time because the work we do together was very good I think. And the business was growing. Then the day I told him that I will leave, he say to me, “Oh, let’s do a interior department within Pierre Cardin group.” And I say, “It may be a good idea but I really want to try by myself. Let’s see if I will succeed or not.” And it was very hard decision because at this time I have no client, I have no job. Then I quit with not a lot of money and I start to work alone in my kitchen drawing first for friends because they asked because they see my apartment in Paris and they looked, it was nice and there was some special spirit they see in my work. And just like that, I start with friends and then I hire an assistant, which is still with me now. And it’s grow like that step by step slowly, I think like that.

And what was your first real client?

My first real client was me. Transforming an apartment into [foreign language 00:12:41] which I bought and also a friend, but I was paid for that. John Lauren, who was the artistic director at this time of Tiffany’s, and he asked me to help him in a project in Palm Beach. It was like an art decor small villa. And then I bought [inaudible 00:13:03] really art decor pieces, very, it was small project but a very interesting project to go to very famous French because he wanted to do with art decor but with a French touch and we bought little piece of [foreign language 00:13:24] and it was like that and it was published but very long time ago, it must say more than 20 years ago now. And as I say, it was starting very slowly.

And how would you describe the design culture in France, especially when it comes to interiors in 2001? What was the environment like? Because today I would say that your taste has been so influential and now everyone is following you, but what were the dominant voices in Paris and French design like in 2001?

2001, it’s very strange because now from when I look back, the tastes are changing a lot. When I start, my project was very clean, more white, more minimal I must say. And now year after year, or maybe because my projects are bigger and the client are more rich, if I can say something like that. I think they don’t want too much minimal. They like me when they hired me of course, but they want something very clean I think, but also very comfortable, very playful to be happy also in the project. And it’s what I like. But also to answer to your question, I think style very different now because on 2001 it was the hand of must say, very classic style. We lived the 18th century because a lot of bourgeois family was furnishing our house only by 18th century, 19th century, very classic. And year after year the test has been changed and they’re more collector of contemporary art, more design.

And if I go again back, five years ago when I was presenting to some client because I like eclecticism to mix also furniture at my project, sometime when I was presenting like 18th century canopy so far there was like shock because they say, I don’t understand because you mostly contemporary in your mind and I don’t understand why you present me something like that. And it was quite difficult to make them proceed with this kind of eclecticism, but now they’re very open, very open up with this and I feel that we back a little bit with classic [inaudible 00:16:11] and they’re very more open for eclecticism or eclectic.

And in your residential interiors, people like to describe your work as pioneering a sort of quiet luxury and very much one that’s sort of in harmony with contemporary art and people collecting. And how do you describe your work to maybe somebody who maybe you meet them for the first time, they have no idea who you are, they’ve never seen anything. I’m wondering if you could describe your signature to someone who’s completely an unknown to you.

Well, I described really from the beginning, I think I didn’t change, it’s like [inaudible 00:17:04] eclectic since the creation of my agency to combine and contradictory requirements such as simplicity and sophistication, luxury and humility, warmth and rigor, poetry and structure. And year after year, I think I have acquired a confidence to go further in the quest. For example, I use color and textures, which I didn’t use at the beginning, but the bands however remained the same. It’s a perfect [inaudible 00:17:53] and yeah, it’s still clean but in a different way and more playful, I think.


The Pierre Yovanovitch Mobilier Gallery in Paris. Photo: Federico Torra

A few years ago at Departures magazine I did a story about how young French designers were all the rage and how their new aesthetic seemed to conquer the industry, not to mention Instagram. After doing some digging, I realized that many of them started their careers working with Pierre. So many roads in design today lead back to him. I wanted to dig deeper into Pierre’s understanding of his own work. What has fueled and inspired his look and what his thoughts are on the power of narrative in design.

And how would you describe Rigor to somebody from your point of view?

Oh, I describe Rigor. It’s Rigor, it’s very large world. I think it’s Rigor, so the way we work, it’s very like an architect. We have different phases in the project that we, and Rigor, it’s clean, not too messy, very easy to understand the style and the proportions. I think at the first time you come in a room, the shape, the space, it’s something like that. It’s quite difficult to describe, but I’m like that also. I think I’m serious in life and also in contrary, I’m playful and not serious in a way.

And how many people are on your team at the moment? How many employees do you have?

We are almost 100 now.

Oh gosh. Wow. And how many interiors are you doing, I would say residential interiors?

In the same time?


We have 27 projects in the same time in US, Europe, Middle East, a lot in Switzerland and some in France and [inaudible 00:22:59] and very different type of client, very different location also, which is nice because the only problem is all of my client, they want to see me as much as it’s possible. Then I travel a lot. That’s why I listen a lot of music and my life, it’s part of my home and office and plane. That’s the most difficult part of my job, it’s traveling all the time.

And people kind of connect your style to maybe some things that you admire like Scandinavian design or mid-century American design. I’m curious what sort of values you see in that that maybe was new when you brought it and maybe melded, connected that to a sort of French identity in a way.

I was always a collector, raised a lookout for unexpected and rare peace. And I always love country of the north of Europe, which I visited a lot. And I have I think a deeply rooted love for [inaudible 00:24:11] because I think it looks like me, it’s not so well no design movement from the 20, but it’s rigor, balance, curve, deep of materiality and simplicity, which speak to me a lot. And also I like to push this kind of pieces because people that don’t know and I want to surprise them all the time. Of course I love French master like [inaudible 00:24:49] which is always very beautiful in a project, but it’s expected and I prefer to expect pieces, sometime it could be, if I can say like border in a test because of shape, because of material at this time this designer use, sometimes gold, which could be bling, but at the end it’s not. Sometime it’s baroque, sometime it’s very minimal. It’s always this balance between these two parts of tastes.

What was the most daring thing you think you’ve done recently where you were able to convince a client to do something daring?

Now, I was there yesterday. I come back yesterday night from Switzerland and I do a chalet which is in size like a hotel. It’s a private residence but it’s really like a hotel. We do a swimming pool, a huge swimming pool, not Olympic but almost, with a spa, with a cinema the size of the real cinema. Many rooms, many living rooms, many bar, there are two bars. And at the same time it’s huge but I really want to keep in a human scale and very warm also because it’s in the mountain, because it’s cold and it’ll use mostly in the winter time. Then I use rough material like solid wood, ceramic colors, wood paneling. And I was there yesterday and I really feel very comfortable in this project even if it’s huge. I think this is very important. I think it’s an extravagant project, I must say when I was visiting. There is so many things to see, but at the end it’s not simple. But I try to keep this project as simple as it could be with this kind of extravagant scale.

And what are the American clients like?

They’re very different. They’re very different because we are more dreamer like French that we say. Sometimes we say we could do that or we could be like that or we will paint like this on the project. But the American, they want to know I think very clearly at the beginning how it’ll look, which is not the case in France. They accept that you say it could be something like that.

In America they’re more strict, which I like also because it forced me to be very productive at the very early stage of the project. But they’re very trustful also and they hire me because it’s complicated to work from Paris and to hire interior design from Paris. Even if I have an office in New York with a team of 10 people and the new gallery that will open in one week now, then they really want me. Then I have to be as more effective as possible as they expect. But sometime I think they’re surprised the way we work. And it’s not true that French people work less than American. I can tell you not true at all. We work a lot, we start later in the morning, but we finish I think later, we have vacation, I must admit, but at work a lot also.

And what are they surprised by the most, American clients?

Yeah, I think they’re surprised by the luck we have of the richness of the craftsman. Also, the craftsman as amazing in France, like carpenters, people who work with glass, people who work with ceramics and also the culture we have because we have a very famous interior design on the 20th century I think who helped me, who helped everybody, I think every interior design to have the richness of background and help you to be as creative, as very creative. Because I think good people, I think talent come from the knowledge you have of reading books, seeing exhibitions, seeing antique dealer, gallery, which is very important in Paris. We are very lucky about that. And it helps you to with a combination of many things to be very creative.

And you use the term narrative a lot in your work, which is something I hear more and more today from different designers, even ones outside of interiors. And can you tell me from your own point of view how narrative sort of plays into your projects? Maybe there’s an example.

Yes, narrative. It’s very important because you always tell a story to your clients. You tell, you start, you meet them and you start. You say, okay, your house will be that because I understand that you live like that sometime. I have clients who like to entertaining, to do dinner, to have fun, not some, some are more private and the subject of the narration is very close to my heart. I think it’s following the unique storytelling of my clan in daily life or it’s the same of working on the set design of an opera. For example, when I do a regulator or verde for the Basel opera, I use this narrative to drive the creative aspect of my work. And it’s very interesting to follow this narrative things to be as close as possible of them or the story you do like for opera or exhibition of sonography.

And yes, I have always been interested by storytelling, telling a story, that of the place, that the owner, of inventing one, for example, when I was asking to do the sonography of the 100 years of the Villa Noire, which is located in south of France, in here, who belonged to the Noire family. I tried to invent, I say I was very close of their life, but also now because the idea of this sonography was to say that the Noire is still alive in ’23 and they hire me now as an interior design to redo and to refit the home. Then of course I start by, I start to understand how they used to live in the ’40 and the ’50 because [inaudible 00:32:18] was living in this house until her death in 1972. And also she changed a lot is her taste. She was very minimalist, tick when she hired [inaudible 00:32:33] the architecture to build a house.

And then year after year at the end she was very messy, very baroque mixing furniture. And it was very interesting for me. And then I tried to understand that and to imagine how they could live in ’23 and it’s part of the narrative way. And also in this exhibition there was a text that I write. It was a dialogue between [inaudible 00:33:05] and [inaudible 00:33:07] who her husband, like that they were alive and they will speak together and [inaudible 00:33:13] was showing to her husband the new decor she did in the ’23 for her house, for their house. And I think it’s interesting because the narrative really following the decor I imagine for this project.

And it’s also a venue, correct? I mean for people that don’t know, the Villa Noire is sort of a famous venue for emerging design and fashion photography and was that also part of the remit?

Yes. This exhibition was starting in June with the architecture and design festival and after you had the photography festival and after you have the fashion festival, which is bring a lot of people, mostly young because it’s a lot of student, a lot of people who want to work in fashion, on photography. And for me it was very playful because I was thinking to do this project also for very young people and it was a very big success and I’m very happy to see how much people enjoy this kind of exercise.


Pierre’s home, the Château de Fabrègues. Photo: Jerome Galland

And I did a story once for a magazine that I used to work at and it was a series of profiles on young French designers and I noticed that a lot of them studied with you or worked with you in some way. And is that something that makes you feel proud? Do you see that there’s this generation of now French designers that are, and you’re a young man, you’re not retirement age by any means, that you’ve kind of inspired this sort of a generation of designers?

No, I’m very proud. I’m always sad when people leave me of course because if they leave me, I must say they’re quite brave because you have to have a lot of courage to fund your own company, to walk by yourself, to find client. I think it’s a very big moment to have the courage of splitting a company, which we have many projects, many clients, a lot of energy, and to be by your own to do what you can imagine. And I’m proud of them for that. I’m sad also.

And sometime I told them to try to find their own style and their own way, which is sometime not the case. And I think it’s sad because it’s very important for them to find their own style and their own taste because being successful is this, to be very special, very singular and to try to have their own heart to do and to give to people something fresh and new. And I can imagine that it’s difficult working with me for some time, they leave me after 10 years or five years, but because they’re vary with what I like. But yeah, I will push them to be, some of them of course, to be more singular, to [inaudible 00:38:02].

And how do you want to be different? I mean because obviously your pieces are very, even though you might be producing them and it might be scalable, they’re quite luxurious items and they’re quite expensive. So I’m saying how do you think of yourself as different? And I’m wondering, have you ever thought about making some furniture that a podcaster could afford, more democratically priced things?

But I will try to do the more captive pieces, maybe also to do with a small scale. For example, like dishes, which I’m very interesting, small objects also that I also do collaboration, for Dior for example, I do small objects for the house, which I wanted to do also for my brand. I think interesting me and people, they can buy this because it’s very easy to buy. And to answer to your question, my design is very recognizable mostly because of the material I use, because I use rough wood, which is very rare because rough wood, is very difficult to work with because it’s cracked, it’s living. It’s not like veneer wood, but people, they know that, I tell them this piece, we live with you, they will crack. But also it’s part of the beauty because for me, beauty is not perfect things. Imperfect things are very interesting also in my work, that’s why I designed this asymmetrical armchair 10 years ago because it’s imperfect shape, very comfortable shape, but it’s imperfect. And when you see it’s interesting.

And also in architecture and a lot of when you work in classical houses, nothing is straight, nothing is parallel, but it’s not necessary to redo everything, to make everything clean and parallel. I think it’s interesting to work in this kind of project to play with and to feel with imperfection, the beauty.

And you have a chateau that I believe you’ve redone for yourself in Provence that’s sort of a little bit isolated in the countryside, I think it’s in the forest, is that accurate?

Yes. I must say it’s middle of nowhere. And I found this estate by coincidence. My mom is, her family was from there mostly more on the north but very close of this part of France. And I found by coincidence it was belonged to the family since the beginning of the 10th century. And the chateau was built, this chateau now, the chateau, the house where I live now is from the early 17th century. Then I was the first owner to belong from this family. And it’s so late because I need to really, as I work a lot, as I travel a lot, I need to be, it’s very paradoxal also because I like to be alone and I like to be a lot with a lot of friends also. But it’s very important for me because when I open my window from my room, I see all natural trees, forest, a little mountain because it’s not flat.

I feel the smelling and I’m lucky to have a lot of animal over there. I have dogs, cats, donkeys, chicken. It’s helped me to breathe. And this is very important for me. It’s really, and when I’m in Paris or I’m somewhere traveling, I’m always thinking about my house, always thinking about the smelling when I come. You take a road for three kilometers, it’s more than five miles I think, and middle of nowhere. And when you come, I always open the window of my car smelling the pine, smelling really the natural, which is, and I’m always thinking about that, the smelling, the color, the color of the light, the sky because it’s in Provence, it’s really clear because it’s very windy.

It’s not cloudy. The color are very defined, which I like. And I understand why there is so many artists who have the house there in this part of France. And the Picasso had a house not so far from my house in [inaudible 00:43:12] which is like 40 minutes from my house. It’s a little chateau. So really the same architecture facing the [foreign language 00:43:20] which is close to [inaudible 00:43:22]. And I believe that it was very inspired in this painting, seeing this mountain, this nature. And yeah, that’s the same for me.

And when is the house built originally?

The house was built in 1620, early 17th century. And I try to keep the soul of the house as much as I can. Even if I, of course, change because I didn’t want to make a whole constitution, which is not interesting for me because there was nothing in the house, it was very minimal. There was no decor like you can find in the 18th century, mostly in Paris because it was very rich and the house are very ornate with a lot of Cornish wood paneling, it wasn’t the case at all. And it was very, as I can say, like a white box. Then I feel lucky to find this because I was more free to do what I want.

But even this, I try to keep the spirit of between classicism and modern way of living, having bathroom, there was no bathroom at this time. There was no heating. There was only one bathroom in the house, there was no heating. And I want to go in the winter, also in winter in this part of Provence because it’s high, very cold, a comfortable kitchen, a comfortable sitting also because I am entertaining a lot, I have a lot of friends who coming. And then it’s a mix of modern and very classic. And I think when you come you feel I change, of course I do a lot of work. But you don’t think I have changing the style of the house.

And why a donkey?

Donkey, I love donkey and there’s a lot of donkey in Provence. It’s three girls and really I think they really recognize me because also I come out all the time with carrots and I hug them. And I really love animals, I’m very close of because it’s, for me, it’s real love. Of course they’re waiting for food mostly, but sometime they’re waiting just for hugs.

Oh, that’s very cute. And obviously when it comes to your work and to art is so intertwined with so many interiors that you do. Is there any art that you collect or any sort of genre of art that you like to collect yourself?

Yes, but I try to collect also because of my client, because mostly now all my clients are quite big collector. They collect mostly [inaudible 00:46:20] of them, but most of them are collecting contemporary art. And then I met some artists through them. And also I like also to commission artists to do something in the space, to be connected with the architecture of what I do. I did a lot of commission with [inaudible 00:46:42] which is a Japanese artist. I did like wood nest in three or four projects, I asked to [inaudible 00:46:51] this French artist based in LA to do a fresco at the beginning for me in the chapel I have in the house of Provence, Daniel Buren, a very big window in a French, in Parisian project, a big private mansion. A lot. Yeah, I really like to connect the art and architecture. I think it’s make the project much more interesting. And some of my clients they like very much this kind of thing that I propose to them and mostly they say yes to let’s do something very different.

And there’s nothing you collect though for yourself though?

Then also then I know this artist and I try, I start to collect [inaudible 00:47:48] when she painted fresco, I bought many pieces from them [inaudible 00:47:53] that I have [inaudible 00:47:58] some more classical painter, very famous. I collect from young, two more famous artists when I can. And now I must say I’m more interesting to buy modern art also, which I never did. And I think it’s very interesting because you can find a major artist very interesting. And also to balance and not to be too contemporary, but also to mix all of this kind of artists. I think it’s make the house more like collector house, which I like. When I do my own design, it’s the same. I try to do new design and also to buy vintage pieces and also now to have more classical pieces from the 18 French, Italian. And all of this mix make for me the house very chic. This is kind of the expression of the chic for me, to mix everything.

And obviously you started making furniture, you’re producing your own furniture and selling it separately 10 years ago now. And now you have two galleries, one in Paris and one in New York about to open, which will be open by the time this comes out. Why go on that journey, sort of why take these pieces and put them into production?

I think the furniture business is scalable. I think to a certain degree I think, interior design is not, it is very dependent of who you are. And if you stop, I think the interior design part of your business is over, which is not the case, it could be not the case in furniture business. And I’m always short of time and impassion and the business is very attractive to me because I was working with Pierre Cardin and I see that he could be an artist and a businessman also. And whole pieces are also made by exceptional craftsman. And it’s always limited, but it still exists.

It’s something I liked. And I start also the furniture business because sometime I couldn’t find the pieces I wanted for the project. For example, when I designed big lamp or a staircase, I couldn’t find in the market for four stairs, a lamp, a huge sofa. And then I tried to design these kind of pieces because there was nothing in the market for my project, for the scale of my project. And I start like that. I hope that I can do a little better, not better because it’s very potential but to do different from the competition, also from the competitor.

You’ve done these collaborations with Dior and you did a bottle of rose and you also did a design for the opera recently and that must be exciting and also very different obviously because sonography for the stages is a whole different art form. And how was that process for you?

I really have loved all those collaboration and I really want to push them in the future to do more and more because it’s, as I say, it’s like you work with a client, every client are different and every request of this kind of brand who want to collaborate with me, make you think differently. And it require conscientious effort to part of me and my team to do something different. Connecting with the brand you work with or connecting with the exhibition you work with when you work with sonography or the opera you do. And it’s always a good balance to put what you have in mind and also to respect the command, what they ask for.

And would you do it again? Would you design another opera?

Yes. I’m supposed to go in Rome for seeing, for checking the place we’re going to do, we’re supposed to do the Valkyrie of Wagner, which is an [inaudible 00:52:47] I like it very much and I wish there will be much more in the future, yes. But you have to be fast because time is flying and it’s always very long when you start, really start at the beginning for imagining an opera because also with the schedule of the opera, sometime you work for 26 or 27, then it’s long. And for me, as I’m very impassioned, I feel so long for me to wait three years or four years that it will happen.

And as someone who’s always interested in work-life balance, I think as most people are in design or creativity these days, what do you do when you’re not working or you’re alone in the chateau with the donkeys and the dogs?

I must say I never stop because I’m a very stressful personality. When I have an empty space, I start to be [foreign language 00:53:50] I don’t know to say, there is a-


Anxious, exactly. And I really don’t like sometimes I think maybe I have to go to the doctor because it’s very complicated because I can’t do nothing, it’s impossible. I can’t lay down in a beach looking at the sun. And mostly when I’m in my house, I gardening because really something I like because I take my dogs with me, I plant and I am a dreamer because I always tell myself, okay, I plant these trees and in five years it will be this size, in 10 years will be this size and it’s make me happy.

And what do you dream for yourself in the future?

My dream to be less anxious. I’m more happy. I’m not saying I’m not happy, but sometimes it’s difficult because it’s a big team. We have the pressure of the client, the pressure of a lot of things. And to be maybe more less stressful and having the time to caring more my friend and traveling more I say.

And what’s next for you? What’s 2024 look like for you?

I hope it’ll be happy. A lot of business. No, but the New York Gallery I think will help me to have a new step in the US market. Also, I love to go to New York really, it’s really at one point I wanted to live there, but it was like, I think 10 years ago, I had to say, I must live in the city. But then I realized I was very French and very different from American also. And I saw that living in Paris, but working in US was the best way also for me to be very connected with the French culture and trying to give what I learned for the American people, like French style, French chic and to be different also.

And 24, to have more interesting clients, more nice clients. More I getting older, more I want to have fun also with my client. And I think trust, fun and it’s make the project very nice because sometime it’s long, three years as I tell at the beginning. And I think the relationship have to be the connection of the human relationship. It’s not even more important of talent, but it’s the same. You have the talent but you have also the human relationship, which is very important for me. If you have a great relationship during the project, I think the project will be nice because we both sides have fun to do it. And I think you have to be serious because there is money, there is timing, but also it’s part of joy to imagine a house for people to be as happy as possible when the project is completed.


Thank you to our guest Pierre Yovanovitch, as well as to Celine, Agathe, and Cedric for making this episode happen. The editor of The Grand Tourist is Stan Hall. To keep this going, don’t forget to visit our website and sign up for our newsletter, The Grand Tourist Curator at and follow me on Instagram @danrubinstein. And don’t forget to follow The Grand Tourist on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you like to listen and leave us a rating or comment. Every little bit helps. Till next season!

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