An interior architects' minimalist style

Paris, France

Inside a 17th century building, on the banks of the Seine river an all-black and white decor apartment provides the canvas for the minimalist style of interior architect Laurent Pisoni.

He welcomes us to his home to tell us about his profession and his passion for contemporary art.

To begin, can you introduce yourself?

My name is Laurent Pisoni and I am an interior architect. I carry out projects for apartments, as well as houses. I was fortunate enough to design a house in Mexico where construction lasted 2 years. I also like designing houses in the countryside because it gets me out of the city, I find nature there gives me a field of expression that is more important than in an apartment. More sporadically I sometimes design offices and shops.

What made you want to do this job?

I've always wanted to do this. My father pushed me to buy an apartment when I was barely 18 years old. He lent me the money for the notary fees and I started to work on the apartment. I really got a taste for it! Subsequently I made other apartments, including several for myself, and that's how I came into architecture.

How do you define your style? Is your apartment representative of this?

Yes completely! It's a minimalist style, but without being cold. There are a lot of benches, cupboards, a lot of long things. And always white.

Where do you find your inspiration?

Art is a great source of inspiration, but so is nature. Even if you don't always realise it, there are already lots of lines drawn in nature. Travel also inspires me. And there are other architects. People like John Pawson and Mies Van Der Rohe.

What material do you most like to work with?

I really like stone, marble. It is often featured in my projects. I even designed a collection of marble furniture.

And USM, how did it come into this apartment?

USM, it's an old love story! This is furniture that I have known for a very long time, even before the Paris showroom opened! I’ve put it in a lot of customers’ homes. I like the clean, practical and stylish side. I like that this furniture is flexible when needed. Initially I put the furniture in my room as a sideboard, but it was only two compartments tall, and I realised that I needed more space, so I ordered a third compartment and that is how it grew!

You are a collector. Are your customers too?

Yes, absolutely, and there are clients that I introduced to contemporary art who did not know it at all. I have in particular a client who got a taste for it and who I made buy a piece from Sylvain Couzinet-Jacques. It was the first work he bought in his life!

Have you been collecting for a long time?

Almost always. I started at the age of 18, buying small designs, small affordable things. And bit by bit I bought others, like this work by Martial Raysse for example. This is not his best known piece, he’s more known for his portraits of women with neon lips.

I still have works in a warehouse that I got in my youth and would no longer go on these walls, but I keep them in case one day I have more space. I like the auction rooms so I buy at Sotheby’s. And also in the galleries.

What advice would you give to a young collector?

My advice would be to go to small galleries, not the big names. When you start you have to see, see, see and above all, don't be afraid to buy! There is a young gallery called La Cité which I like and has affordable things. They in particular represent an American artist called Tyrell Winston whom I like very much.

What triggers your desire to buy a work?

When I like it. And what's fun is because I choose with my heart, my collection becomes coherent.

How does interior designing fit into your process?

It really depends on the client. I designed an apartment on the left bank for a client who entrusted me with everything, top to bottom. I even choose the teaspoons! It is the same for a work in progress, I will do everything. Linens, dishes, it's for someone who lives in London and doesn't have time to do it.

As trends change, do customer demands?

Effectively. Customers have changed, there are a lot of design programs, a lot of specialised press, so customers have more assertive tastes. But I’m lucky to still have some customers who give me carte blanche. We confirm the plans together and once it's done we do almost nothing. And these are obviously the projects I prefer since nothing can interfere with my expression!

We warmly thank Laurent Pisoni for his welcome and showing us his home. You can see more of his work on his Instagram account @laurentpisoni

Photographs: Alexandre Moulard