LAURA GONZALEZ Designer of the year MASON&OBJET 2019
At 37, architect Laura Gonzalez is already well- known for working her magic across Paris, and for the past two years has been spreading her wings overseas, stamping her “reworked clas- sical” style on a whole host of restaurants, bars, hotels and stores. MASON&OBJET is delighted to be giving this exceptionally talented and prolific designer a helping hand along the road to success by naming her Designer of the Year.
CLASSICISM AND FANTASY
“I feel that spaces need to have their own soul.” The architect, who trained at the Paris- Malaquais School of Architecture, has been applying that mindset with real panache to every single space she has designed since first launching her firm back in 2008. Some of those spaces have been sleeping beauties whose charm she has skilfully reawakened - the Alcazar, Hotel Christine, the Brasserie La Lorraine -, whilst others she has designed from scratch, giving free reign to her creative flair, as was the case with the 86 Champs, the Manko, the Noto, the Louboutin stores in Barcelona and Amsterdam or those owned by Cartier in Stockholm, Zurich and London. The architect has imbued all these projects with her own unique style, updating classical re- ferences with a generous helping of her rampant yet well-tamed imagination.
“I make a point of never doing the same thing twice” she explains, with her most recent Parisian projects paying testament to that. At La Gare, a huge brasserie-style restaurant in the 16th arrondissement of Paris, she has incorporated numerous references to travel by looking to the shores of the Mediterranean for inspi- ration. At the Cartier store on Paris’s rue de la Paix, meanwhile, the space she’s designed resembles an apartment worthy of Coco Chanel. And at one of Paris’s most iconic restaurants, Lapérouse, she’s restored all the woodwork, artwork and period frescoes whilst simultaneously adding her own quirky, romantic touch.
«I feel that spaces need to have their own soul.»
No-one else combines fabrics, motifs, materials, colours and eras quite like this bold young architect, resulting in a thoroughly unique signature style. And as Gonzalez herself explains, “I love adding a plethora of details, ensuring there’s always something of interest, no matter where the gaze falls.” Her love for mixing-and-matching became clear the second she unveiled her first project as a freshly qualified architect, aged just 26. The project in question was the Bus Palladium, a shining star of the Parisian night scene, which she chose to refurbish with a pot-pourri of no fewer than thirty-five wallpapers, furnishing the place with vintage finds and simultaneously dragging the brass fixtures and fittings kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century. What was to become her signature style has since been further enriched over the years, fuelled by numerous collaborations with some of France’s very best craftsmen, in- cluding marble masons, cabinetmakers, glass- makers, glass blowers, mosaic specialists and lacquerers. “I really enjoy seeing all that creativity at work” says Gonzalez, with a smile. The difficulty I then have is striking the right balance between tasteful maximilism and an end-product that’s totally over the top”. Her secret? She follows her instincts, following in the footsteps of her design mentor, Madeleine Castaing.
Laura Gonzalez is currently busy working on a brand new project that sits just perfectly with her Latin sense of exuberance, inherited from her Spanish mother: renovating a mansion in the Vexin to create what she calls a “living show- room”. It’s a place where she intends to welcome clients, craftsmen, chefs, journalists, in a space where she will display vintage finds - hunting for vintage pieces is one of her passions - alongside her brand new furniture range, featuring sofas, lights and tables. “My furniture is very “me” - everything is bespoke, you can choose the colour of a chair, combine an endless number of fabrics on a fireside chair...”.The pieces in the collection will sit alongside one-off creations designed hand-in-hand with craftsmen, such as an onyx backgammon table and an obsidian lamp. The showroom is due to open in No- vember, so watch this space!
CAFÉ SIGNATURE BY LAURA GONZALEZ
During MAISON&OBJET at the entrance of the Hall 7, come and discover the Café Signature designed especially for the event. Immerse yourself in the world of Laura Gonzalez’s furniture in its superb interior, while savouring a selection of dishes and pastries devised by Pierre Hermé. The expertise of Pierre Frey is showcased in a decor that features shapes, colours and materials that only Laura Gonzalez could com- bine, a space defined by a mix of rounded shapes and bright colours.