Florence Lopez’s Revolving Decor
May 26, 2016 - accent chair
FLORENCE LOPEZ ESTIMATES that in scarcely 24 years she’s resided in 18 opposite apartments—all during a same address. A play in antiques and a musical arts, she operates not out of a white-box gallery, as many of her Parisian contemporaries do, yet from her rarely melodramatic home in a former sculpture studio on a Rue du Dragon. Beyond providing a backdrop for a seat and objects she sells, Lopez’s unit presents a thought of a independent life spent in their company. When billionaire gourmet François Pinault, a client, arrived early for a morning appointment a few years back, he detected her in unclothed feet, stashing her half-eaten breakfast behind a curtain. Lopez reinvents her vital space down to a ashtrays each year or two, slipping between a roles of dealer, interior engineer and stylist to denote her oddity with new cultured worlds.
“I have a sense we live in a caravan, or a vessel or train—a relocating place, so instead of space there is life here,” Lopez says as she creates coffee in her slate-colored kitchen, that occupies a dilemma of a corridor between a grandly proportioned studio and dual slight bedrooms assimilated finish to end. The flat, assembled in 1920 atop a 17th-century building, has a provisional atmosphere that suits Lopez’s stylized décor. “This space is zero though fluidity and atmosphere,” she says. The leggy yellow poppies she’s cut for a list seem to curtsy in assent.
As a teen in southwestern France, Lopez schooled to sail, roller and fish with a net from a windswept beaches of Cap Ferret, not distant from her home in Bordeaux. “I was a garçon manqué, a tomboy,” she says. Though she’s still something of a tomboy, as her relaxed schoolyard sweaters and careless screen of brownish-red hair competence suggest, decades ago her stadium shifted to a Left Bank in Paris. The stage where she now finds competition in trade antiques is mostly a masculine preserve, and while Lopez, 57, isn’t one of a boys, she’s warranted their respect. Apart from Pinault, her clients embody actor Gérard Depardieu; conform executive Delphine Arnault; musician Thomas Bangalter of Daft Punk and his wife, singer Élodie Bouchez; and actors Charlotte Gainsbourg and her partner, Yvan Attal, who have worked with her for 15 of a 20-plus years she’s been in business.
To strech her, they contingency navigate 5 flights of a dimly illuminated turn staircase (the building has no elevator; seat enters and exits around a proxy lift by a studio’s large pattern windows). Lopez and her son, Raphael, 18, share a unit during a week and transport to Bordeaux on many weekends, where her father and Raphael’s father, engineer Patrick Hernandez, lives in a residence a integrate converted from a 19th-century building during a winery. For a past few months, mom and son have eaten breakfast around an Osvaldo Borsani list from a 1940s underneath a midcentury candelabrum with whipping porcelain arms. They’ve slept in their particular cabins on plain singular beds—hers by Charlotte Perriand from 1959, his by Gio Ponti from 1948, an surprising instance in mahogany with coronet equipment and a built-in radio. Before that, they dined during a slatted pedestal list from a 1930s underneath a mod match light.
Of a apartment’s many incarnations over a years, Raphael remembers about a dozen. “I was utterly lustful of a one where all was black and white, with large swirls on a walls,” he says, windmilling his arms to denote as he passes by a kitchen, a trek over one shoulder. He’s come to a end that a plain white walls of his friends’ apartments are a tiny boring, he says.
The free-spirited proceed Lopez takes to their vital space demonstrates her talent for component a sum feeling experience, one that spotlights (and infrequently upstages, as a few clients have kindly suggested) a particular seat and objects she finds while roving or negotiates by a network of suppliers. Though she has a disposition toward modernism, her ambience is unbound by a centuries. She also favors erotic pieces, mostly kaleidoscopic with a caprice that seems to emanate from a celebrity of a creator. “I am a kaleidoscope,” she says—an reference to a turmoil of her eye and a somewhat mad approach she operates. (The English interpretation on her website identifies her as an “antics dealer,” a singular box of definition found in translation.)
“When we go to Florence’s atelier, there’s not one singular square that we am not crazy about,” says Bouchez, who, with Bangalter, has intent Lopez to source a occasional value for their Paris apartment. “It is always a reduction of unique, beautiful, clever and bizarre things. She’s not afraid—she takes risks, and in that approach she’s a genuine artist.”
Though Lopez has dual storage vaults in Paris and one in Bordeaux filled with stock, she never takes clients there for viewings, desiring a knowledge kills a imagination. Instead, by email or in a studio, she’ll advise 3 or 4 furnishings in combination, pointed inflections of period, provenance and character that advise a approach forward. If her initial offer isn’t good received, she’ll move a new juncture into focus.
For a vacation residence of Gainsbourg and Attal in Brittany, one of 3 homes she has designed for a couple, Lopez began with Alvar Aalto pieces from a 1930s and 1940s and afterwards folded in comely 1960s sofas and tables by Americans Edward Wormley, Harvey Probber and Paul McCobb, with selected Swedish carpets. For Pinault’s Los Angeles retreat, she tracked down midcentury French and American designs, including a singular walnut-base Vladimir Kagan sofa.
“They are all nonconformists,” she says of her clients, a high suit of whom work in a arts. “How can we advise these ardent people? we learn from them, and they learn from me.” When she was only starting out, she says, her assembly tended to be older, and now a retreat is true. “But a youngest of all is Monsieur Pinault! He has a suggestion that is really sympathique. And such pleasing blue eyes.”
The beginning artistic change Lopez can remember was her mother, who upheld Florence and her dual sisters in Bordeaux by operative as a decorator and an occasional wardrobe designer. She would examination during home, one of her some-more radical ideas being a designation of a ballet barre in a entrance gymnasium and another in her bedroom, where she’d mount with a leg propped adult as she talked with a girls. Lopez transient a region’s bias by unresolved out with antiques dealers in a internal markets. At 17 she changed to Paris and afterwards to New York, where in 4 years she ran by an internship during Christie’s and jobs with Parish-Hadley and McMillen, a twin pillars of a American decorating establishment, as good as a fibre of sublets in Alphabet City. In 1985, she returned to Paris to take a pursuit with lover monde decorator Jacques Garcia, that lasted 7 years until she decided, on a whim, to enter a antiques trade.
Her matter was a Rue du Dragon studio. One of her beginning installations there—a 1993 incursion into a Arts and Crafts movement, featuring thick-legged ash tables and elegant accent pieces in stoneware and metal—landed her a 10-page essay in The World of Interiors. Since then, European decorating magazines have tracked her talented impulses as yet she were a teen royal. Partly since of this attention, she admits, her interiors have grown some-more decorated over a years, from their elaborately embellished murals to a brightly pigmented objects she scatters around to locate a photographer’s lens. Lopez now has clients from Hollywood to Venice to Hong Kong—though she’s still “a giveaway electron,” as she puts it, operative solo to find a singular square for a client’s collection or, increasingly, collaborating with her father on top-to-bottom residential projects.
The stream thesis on a Rue du Dragon is Roberto Burle Marx and Brazilian modernism. Lopez strike on a thought during a 2014 shopping outing to Rio de Janeiro, after spotting a tapestry by a 20th-century artist and landscape engineer in a private collection. A moodily reimagined territory of a work now explodes opposite a 20-plus-foot wall in a studio, where Raphael, stretched out on a poison-green lounge with his laptop, is most swallowed adult by a roiling sea of tone and pattern. Lopez has strong a hint of Burle Marx in a array of ravishing pieces: a local son (via a honey-colored list by São Paulo, Brazil–based Giuseppe Scapinelli), a ecologist (a debate de force walnut chunk bed by American George Nakashima) and a lightsome populist (an asymmetrical armchair with swooping lines and symbol tufting by Swede Arne Norell).
“Can we suppose we have two?” she says of a chair, using her palm over a undulating back. “I bought them separately. They were really expensive, yet we had to have them, and many clients have already asked about them.” Lopez refuses to sell off any of a décor waste until she’s prepared to start a new scheme, and there are a few things she’ll never partial with: a gouache by Serge Poliakoff she’s betrothed to Raphael, a tabletop sculpture by Pierre Dunand for herself. She competence feel a pang of unhappiness to see a rest go, “because we remember a work of my painter, Mr. Pic, and all a others,” she says, inventory a cadre of upholsterers, electricians and other tradesmen she keeps on call. But it’s short-lived. “For my work, there’s always a subsequent thing.”
With Raphael streamer off to college subsequent year, Lopez has been in a heightened state of transition, even for her. She’s been eyeing genuine estate outward Saint-Germain-des-Prés and has found a earnest new place in a 14th arrondissement. “It’s not trendy,” she says, pleased. She thinks a stream phenomenon of a studio competence be a last, and she’s operative on a book of her past décors, “for Raphael, so he has a record of this crazy place,” she says. In Bordeaux, she and Hernandez are scheming a new blurb space for a introduction of a tiny seat collection he will design, an appendage of projects they’ve finished together.
“Patrick wants me to stay there—no some-more of Paris,” she says, flipping her hair out of her eyes like a teenager. She still fantasizes about giving New York another try. “Patrick says it wouldn’t be a same as my memories of it, yet maybe we don’t mind that.”
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