Mansion Global

Design Can Be ‘A Great Way to Bring Joy to a Home,’ Says French Designer

May 25th, 2020

Pierre Yovanovitch embraces organic shapes and natural hues and materials

French designer Pierre Yovanovitch founded his Paris-based atelier in 2001 after a career as a menswear designer for Pierre Cardin. His interior design style blends haute couture, architectural elements, high art and vintage furnishings to create dynamic interiors.

An avid art collector himself, Mr. Yovanovitch, 54, often incorporates contemporary work into his designs or commissions emerging artists for on-site works. His portfolio spans residential, hospitality and commercial projects, which include French chateaus and New York City penthouses.

Most recently, he designed a collection of penthouses at the Bjarke Ingels-designed The XI in Manhattan’s West Chelsea. He also recently launched a new monograph and a new furniture collection at R & Company gallery in New York called Love.

We caught up with Mr. Yovanovitch, who is based in Paris with an office in New York, to discuss the importance of creating definitive spaces in a home (now more than ever), finding the perfect French chateau, and more.

Mansion Global: How has your business already been affected by COVID-19?

Pierre Yovanovitch: Apart from the obvious construction halts and logistical setbacks, people are reconsidering their relationship to their home now that they’re required to pass all of their time there. They are having to compartmentalize their space so that their work area is separate from the rest of their living space.

Access to nature will be an even more important feature as a result of the pandemic. For the penthouse collection at The XI, I designed a series of rooms that provide indoor/outdoor rooms to encourage a connection to nature and the outdoors.

MG: How can design respond to these difficult times?

PY: Design can be a great way to bring joy to the home, which is especially relevant now that we’re expected to spend all of our time there. At The XI, it was important to design rooms that provided flexibility while also maximizing space so that it can serve a variety of purposes and allow buyers to customize their home in a way that is ideal for them. It is also useful in this time to ensure the design of the home creates distinct areas of activity in the house so that we can distinguish work productivity from the relaxation that comes with preparing dinner, for example. Also adding artwork, figurines, books or objects that elicit nostalgia or spark the imagination are a great way to elevate the mood of a space and keep our spirits up during a difficult time.

MG: Describe your dream property.

PY: I feel like I won the lottery with my home in the south of France. It presented itself unexpectedly to me and I acquired it without hesitation. Château de Fabrègues is such a magical piece of property with charming structural elements and lots of land for my garden and my animals.

MG: What does luxury mean to you?

PY: I have a bit of an unconventional sense of luxury. Sure, it’s nice to have the highest caliber design elements in a home, and of course I’m uncompromising in quality when it comes to my design work, but what can’t be bought is the sense of warmth, creative expression and freedom an interior can bring to the homeowner. That’s the ambiance we strive to create.

MG: What area do you think is the next hub for luxury properties?

PY: Some of my clients feel the need for more space, while at the same time being in the heart of New York City will always be a luxury. France abounds with wild and fantastic areas, sparsely populated and full of stunning properties.

MG: What’s the biggest surprise in the luxury real estate market now?

PY: There is a return back to craft that is in some ways surprising, but also really refreshing to see in luxury design. I see people moving away from stark, ostentatious designs and more toward incredibly well-made designs that feature organic shapes and more natural hues and materials.

MG: Where are the best luxury homes in the world and why?

PY: This is a tough one to answer, as there are so many possible scenarios. A shack on the beach of a Greek island would be luxurious to me because of the stunning landscape, as would the ability to live in the heart of Manhattan perched above the city in a property such as The XI penthouses. I suppose luxury, in some ways, is in the eye of the beholder.

MG: What’s your favorite part of your home?

PY: Aside from my garden, I would say the old chapel on my property is wonderful. I commissioned the talented painter, and close friend, Claire Tabouret to create a fresco in the space, which brings me serenity and joy every time I go into the space.

MG: What best describes the theme to your home and why?

PY: My home is a true reflection of my style in that it’s filled with vintage design pieces, art and knick knacks I’ve collected from over the years that make me happy. In that way, it’s a bit eclectic but truly mine.

MG: What’s the most valuable amenity to have in a home right now?

PY: With all of us working from home currently, I would say having a home with plenty of separate, defined spaces is a true amenity, as so many of us are negotiating work space with our family.

MG: What’s your best piece of real estate advice?

PY: Don’t settle. I had a vision for the type of property I wanted, long before we found our home, and it was worth the wait to find something that exceeded our expectations.

MG: If you had a choice of living in a new development or a prime resale property, which would you choose and why?

PY: I would choose an empty plot and go for the challenge of a new build any day.