It’s not often that simplicity really wows. It’s a hard thing to do. Unlike more opulent and intricate styles, simplicity, by definition, is understated, quiet and straightforward; its wowing potential usually reserved for elegant contrasts, colossal dimensions or defying silhouettes.
The minute you lay eyes on French interior designer and architect Guillaume Alan’s work, however, everything changes. The definition of simplicity changes and so do attitudes toward it. Suddenly simplicity (or at least French simplicity) becomes impossibly desirable for its utterly chic aesthetic and effortless style. Colour palettes are monochromatic, upholstery is tailor-like and the attitude is far from try-hard.
Think of it as the interior design equivalent of Vogue Paris editor-in-chief Emmanuelle Alt or model Ines de la Fressange—two individuals who epitomise France’s inherent ability to make just about everything cooler. Which explains why renowned fashion houses like YSL, Dior, Chanel and Tom Ford have all taken advantage of Guillaume’s creative genius.
The LuxDeco 100 designer started young—opening his first studio in 2002 in Paris’ Saint-German-des-Prés and at the young age of 24—and in time expanded to a second studio in London in 2011. With his quintessential look becoming increasingly sought-after by an international contingent, Guillaume was on hand to offer his style advice for those francophiles looking to achieve an effortlessly stylish Parisian look.
“When I designed and launched my very first collection, I tried to rewrite the tradition of French classicism and renew it using pure lines—offering 18th century interiors and furniture with a 21st century style. I choose this aesthetic because I know it will never go out of style—it’s timeless. Interior designers, architects and furniture designers are still fascinated by the grandeur of traditional French design even now.”
“Parisian style is simple and composed. Through my work, I create havens of peace which are calming and pure thanks to the soft monochrome colour palettes and gradient shades which I use. In a very quick world and when lives are very busy, this is so important so I follow my own intuition.”
“Elegance is fundamental to a chic Parisian look and I like to think that it’s the true stamp of my work. I use it in all aspects of the design process—in lighting, in materials, in shapes. When decorating your home, always have elegance as your main focus—it’s what characterises the look of Paris’ beautiful homes.”
“My signature motif is perfect and simple lines, executed with such precision. Although, in many ways, simplicity is one of the hardest things to achieve, precise simplicity is what makes something truly chic. I am also very attached to precision craftsmanship—this elevates the quality of a piece.”
“I think of my projects as expressing a minimalist sense of poetry because they’re evocative and arouse emotion in the way that poetry does. I like to keep forms pure and structured but I also add softness by paying attention to rhythm, balance and structure.”