Art and interior design are creative environments that are constantly learning from each other. The perfect work of art influences our interior decoration. Today, neutral colors are in fashion. We interviewed Claire Clerc, interior designer, to understand the current trends.
What inspired you to become an interior designer?
I started my career as a stylist in the textile industry. After 10 years of work, I missed the direct contact with customers and wanted to diversify my tasks. The renovation of an apartment was the trigger for me to start a professional reconversion. I studied space design at the Boule school in Paris and then little by little, from internship to internship, I quickly created my own agency Claire Clerc in 2013.
What is your creative process?
For me, each project begins with human interaction and a need. I try to respond to a desire, a style and then a budget as well.
Once I have taken the time to understand my client’s needs, I focus on images and visuals. In interior design, words are sometimes insufficient, a single word can have several interpretations, whereas for me, an image speaks for itself right away. When I create, I try to open all the possibilities and my imagination as much as I can. And of course, my creative process is nourished by the constraints that often allow me to go outside my comfort zone to go even further in my creativity.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I am always alert for inspiration, I find it in my daily life, everywhere I put my eyes. Whether it is in restaurants, hotels, posters, or in the subway. I have a radar in place of eyes that inspires me every day. I can also be inspired by art. During the confinement, I was able to attend a virtual exhibition at the MOMA. It was an opportunity to see how artistic movements and art itself evolved.
What is the most powerful moment of an interior design project?
The last step of my supervision is the end-of-project presentation. This is a very emotional moment for me because the client will discover his space in a different way. He discovers his needs, his desires, his expectations drawn in 3D.
Despite the stress that comes with presenting the end of a project, I would say that being able to show the final result to clients is the most satisfying part of the process. This is my favorite part.
What was the most significant project of your career?
The most significant project of my career was the decoration of an entire duplex. It was the first time I made all the rooms of a house: 135m2, from A to Z. From the kitchen, to the bedroom of the future baby, through to the living room and the entrance. I put a lot of effort into this project which lasted several months.
What defines a space where we feel at home?
We feel good in a space that is like us. But it must also be functional and harmonious. Lighting also plays an essential role in our feeling of a place.
For you, what is the most important piece of furniture in a living room?
Given that for me, the living room is the welcome room to a house, I would definitely say the sofa. I find that it determines the atmosphere of the room: whether cocooning or chic, sparkling or soft… The sofa also has its importance in terms of comfort. It is from this piece of furniture that the other pieces come to find their space in the living room.
What is your favorite space in a house?
I like the living room. It’s a communal space in the house. A place where we meet at the same time to eat, to read, to discuss… It is also the place where we welcome our friends. It is warm, convivial and common to all the family. For me, it is the most “lively” space in the house.
What is your biggest dream as an interior designer?
My dream would be to work on a hotel and to decorate all the rooms in a singular way. But I won’t hide the fact that I take a lot of pleasure in all my projects, however varied they may be.
Currently, I am working on a pastry store, to create, among other things, the boutique. I have also decorated children’s stores, a bar … I spend a lot of time on private projects, including an 80 square meter space in Versailles where I could create custom furniture, choose Asian artworks and rethink all the spaces.
Are neutral colors trendy today?
Absolutely, it is a big comeback. I think the neutral tones calm us down. They create enveloping spaces. With the confinement, we spent a lot of time at home. Today, customers are looking for comfort, calm and peace.
What is your favourite neutral color?
I like colors that blend with the place. But I particularly like white or very light beige. Neutral colors allow a strong decoration that can evolve.
Do you have advice for our collectors wishing to decorate their homes with neutral tones?
Beyond choosing a color, it is important to experiment before you start. Start by taking a small sample of that color and see it vary with the light. Lighting plays a fundamental role in the color you choose; stay in the light tones. For the room to remain bright, increase the sources of light.
And then, experiment. Against all odds, there are thousands of neutral colors.
In a room, which artistic style complement neutral tones best?
Neutral colors can easily blend with any style. This is one of its advantages. They can be associated with impressionism, pop art, African art and many others. We can be more daring – such as to display a very strong painting on a wall with neutral colors.
Who is your favorite artist or artistic movement?
My grandfather was a poster typographer, so I was immersed in cubism with Picasso and Henri Matisse, this era had a real influence on me. A few years ago, I was very interested in Memphis. Today, I have a lot of admiration for Charlotte Perriand, l’art brut and her relationship with nature is extremely interesting and relevant. I continue to open myself up to art on a daily basis, by seeking to discover new artists and movements.
What role does art play in your work and in your daily life?
Art has two very different but equally important roles in my work. First of all, it is a source of inspiration. It allows me to go beyond my creativity, to sharpen my curiosity, and to open myself to different styles and techniques.
Art also has an important role in decoration. It makes spaces singular and personalizes them. I often happen to decorate places already inhabited by works of art (paintings and sculptures). This heavily influences the final result. In my personal life, as well as at work, I love thrifting. For me, each antique object is a work of art that brings alive a uniqueness to the place.