French interior architect Pierre Yovanovitch launches his own furniture and lighting brand, with a debut collection of 45 pieces intended to be "loved and lived with for a lifetime"
Creative, expressive furniture is always a key element of Pierre Yovanovitch’s interiors: anything with a sculptural profile is a particular favourite, which, combined with contemporary art and beautifully proportioned rooms, lends each space a certain gallery-like feel – yet, critically, without sacrificing the comfort of home. It’s a formula that has seen the French interior architect become one of the most sought-after in his industry.
Yovanovitch had always designed bespoke furniture to fit his interiors, as well as creating two collections for New York gallery R & Company. Now, he’s taking the helm himself, launching a separate sister company, and his own furniture. This is no toe-in-the-water capsule collection but a range of 45 pieces, including sofas, chairs, tables and lighting, all with that signature sculptural style and joie de vivre.
The Riviera from my childhood – its various landscapes, its artists, its unique historic villas and its light – was a big inspiration for me
“I’m offering a furniture line which unveils my passion for craftsmanship, for traditional and innovative techniques, for the visible and invisible, for natural materials,” says Yovanovitch. “Apart from being the realisation of a lifelong dream of mine, the launch of the furniture brand is a way for me to bring these designs to the wider public, beyond the context of my interiors and beyond offering these pieces through a gallery.”
Provence, where Yovanovitch grew up, was a particular influence on the collection. “The Riviera from my childhood – its various landscapes, its artists, its unique historic villas and its light – was a big inspiration for me,” he says. For him, Provence is summed up by 20th-century author Jean Giono’s appraisal of the region, that it “hides its mysteries behind the obviousness”. He was also inspired by design styles from art deco to American modernism – although the craftsmanship is all either French or Swiss, deliberately so, to trumpet and build upon the laudable design legacy of those countries.
“We aim to create pieces which are aesthetically timeless, but also made using natural and local materials whenever possible. We create every piece to be loved and lived with for a lifetime,” he says.
Released from the need to make bespoke pieces to fit an exact space and client, Yovanovitch was free to experiment. “We found an opportunity to focus more on the story of the individual piece,” he says, as well as being able to explore new materials. This is the first time he has worked with bronze, for example, which is used in the Hopper chair, where the material is mirror polished, picking up on the frame’s irregularly textured surface, or the Lexie pendant light, whose three bronze arms are patinated to an almost-black finish, each terminating with a blown-glass shade.
Yovanovitch’s eye for sculptural shape comes across in every piece. He worked with ceramicist Armelle Benoit for his Johnny Guitar seating, an upended u-shape of raw clay with a swirl of contrasting glossy glaze on top, directing you where to sit. The Wave bench has a subtly undulating top in oiled oak, while the Quinn coffee table features a ‘cat’s tongue’ shaped top in rose-tinted case glass, the pink of a flaming sunset.
There’s also a playful side to the collection, which builds on the designer’s previous work for R & Company: upholstered pieces, such as the Daniel sofa, look plump and overstuffed, with corners that are rounded off to create teddy-bear-like curves, enhanced by the use of softly textured off-white fabrics.
Following the launch, Yovanovitch is set to announce the opening of his first showroom in Paris where the collection will be sold. “In many ways the new brand is a celebration of the ‘Made in France’ design approach which has become synonymous with my work over the years,” he says. “It takes the quality and uncompromising attention to detail out of the context of a private residence or limited-edition gallery, and makes it available to a wider, global audience.”