French interior design has taken many forms over the centuries from the revered Louis XV era to India Mahdavi’s colourful worlds of whimsy, but, whatever the look, French interiors have always represented beauty and grace, quality and craftsmanship.
That’s certainly true for Guillaume Alan—the Paris and London-based interior and furniture designer who continually impresses with his minimalist aesthetic.
Architecturally exquisite and relentlessly perfected, his designs appear to be as rooted in historical worlds as they are in modern. Their use of marble and archways render them befitting of classical Roman structures; their sparse furnishing and their furniture’s simplicity of form are characteristically Parisian.
Here, the LuxDeco 100 designer talks about his design work alongside too-perfect-to-be-real shots of his projects.
Guillaume, can you tell us a little about your interior design training?
I was born into and grew up in the world of architecture and design. It’s natural that I decided to launch my own studio when I was 22 in Saint-Germain-des-Prés in Paris. My very first furniture collection [was] displayed in an architectural space that I designed from scratch: very pure and strong lines in opposition with French wood panels and a concrete floor. Since, we have opened a second design studio in Mayfair, London.
Who have been your design inspirations?
To mention only a few, Mies van der Rohe, Tadao Ando, Le Corbusier and Kengo Kuma.
What is the main goal you have for your interiors?
My philosophy is to create a feeling of appeasement—appeasement through beauty and purity.
How would you describe your interior design style?
In harmony with the finest tradition of ‘decorateurs ensembliers’. We apprehend projects as a whole, working on architecture, interior design and furniture.
Far away from trends, we try to create timeless places and atmospheres with poetry. Luxury for us is all about calmness, serenity and emotion. With elegance and refinement, we try to create spaces with very clean and strong lines, but with a subtle balance bringing softness, like a dream. We always try to reflect our sensitivity in order to arouse emotions. This is why our interiors are unique, recognisable and timeless, I believe.
How does your own home reflect your philosophy on interior design?
[It’s] restrained in architecture and elements, but opulent in spirit.
Which projects do you enjoy working on the most?
When you feel that you reach beauty in your drawings. This is also the idea of being able to create and to open the doors of imagination, encouraged by very supportive clients.
Your colour palette remains consistent after all these years—how do you make sure each design feels unique?
We don't duplicate. I can get tired very quickly. This is always a quest for creation and imagination, always inspired by the place itself, the country of location, the lifestyle of the homeowners… This is always all about writing a new story.
What intrigues you most about minimalism?
Dedicated to beauty; less, but better.
What are some of your career highlights?
Tears in the eyes of my clients at the completion of projects. A lot of emotion.
What changes are you seeing in interior design these days and how is your studio responding to those changes?
Instead of the obvious wealth, at Guillaume Alan, our approach to luxury occurs in the minimisation of elements. With an aesthetic restraint, we believe in the essence of things, a quest for the essential. We value profound stories and authenticity.
We are always inspired by the precious gifts coming from nature and the genuine know-how. Using the finest materials such as wool, silk, soft leather, raw linen, cashmere, oak and ash woods, natural marble, bronze and brass, they are all meticulously selected.
Our wool and cashmere upholsteries collections are woven by old mills in Scotland, our silk and beautifully patterned fabrics, as well as the marble and leather, come from Italy, and our linen comes from Belgium.
Passionate for detail and precision, we attach particular value to an irreproachable craftsmanship or how the hand of the man can turn a texture into a beautiful object.