Working at the creatively charged intersection of design, art, and architectural spaces, France-based interior designer Thierry Lemaire defines himself as a connoisseur ‘in the great tradition of French decorative arts.’ Trained as an architect, Lemaire imbibes a timeless, elegant, and comfortable style into his exclusive interior design, decoration, and design projects, merging the beauty of raw materials and the allure of sophisticated design ensconced in an effortless, convivial language. A lover of ‘generous and refined lines,’ the French designer also crafts and sells some of his contemporary designs based on a team of talented craftsmen that he presents in his own gallery.
Underscored by an intention to create functional pieces that are simple yet sculptural, and those that stand out from fleeting trends, Lemaire recently unveiled novel pieces of his design collection at his showroom in the centre of Saint-Germain-des-Près, the Galerie Thierry Lemaire situated at 11 rue Bonaparte in Paris. “We seek timelessness in the originality of our designs and French elegance,” says Lemaire, outlining the essence of his latest furniture design collection comprising of four pedestals table designs and a sideboard.
“Until the 1960s, architects would be in charge of decoration, interior design, architecture, and furniture design. The modern consumerist society has swept away this approach. Clients now prefer to divide up this task to give them more choices. The result is less homogeneous. Our clients appreciate the fact that they have control over the whole project, as used to be the case in the decorative arts tradition that characterised the work of most French architects and interior designers,” Lemaire tells STIR. Catering to an international clientele, the global collection forgoes a set moniker owing to its diverse and ever-growing nature, where new pieces are added one by one, depending on Lemaire’s creative encounters and collaborations.
Originally the base of a coffee table, the Pahrou side table with its organic yet sturdy form is endowed with soft, forgiving edges. “I liked its cloud-like shape and turned it into a piece of furniture in its own distinct way. I appreciate its softness and, of course, its smooth, luxurious, non-aggressive material,” the furniture designer shares with STIR. Standing a little over half a metre, the table design features a monochrome finish of bronze with a muted black patina, exuding a sense of quiet confidence.
Relatedly, the R12 and Hellmet pedestal tables are great classics from Lemaire’s collection designed 15 years ago, furthering his simple yet stylistic design language prioritising elegance and comfort. “Originally in lacquer, they have also been made in bronze. In this case, we decided to travel, and had them made from teak off-cuts, to create eco-responsible and unprocessed designs,” he elaborates.
Ergonomic and sculptural in its warm and rounded wooden profile, the Vezza side table is a fresh addition to the product design collection. “The same policy applies to teak as to the other two pedestal tables. We have always worked with travertine in our projects and appreciate its use in furniture. It's a logical step in our approach,” remarks Lemaire, on his new wooden furniture designs that come in two finish options of solid oiled teak and solid brushed teak.
The U low cabinet in its geometric simplicity stays loyal to Lemaire’s design philosophy and aesthetics, employing references from different eras to create a timeless piece of furniture. “In this case, we assimilated 1970s-style plexiglass legs, gouged oak inspired by the 50s, and sophisticated high-gloss varnished wood for a contemporary touch,” the product designer continues.
Commenting on the collection’s chosen materiality and craftsmanship, Lemaire shares with STIR, “We are always seeking excellence and uniqueness. For example, we sometimes collaborate with bronze makers in Burkina Faso, or cabinetmakers in Indonesia, while remaining loyal to French craftsmen and their outstanding expertise. It is in line with this approach that we have a particular affection for bronze, marble, wood, and other timeless materials.”
“The design of our pieces must be in phase with our architecture and our way of decorating. Above all, we must respect the logic between our desire to have a different signature and the impeccable quality of our work. We mainly work internationally, and we intend to continue doing so. For instance, we have various ongoing projects in Morocco, Switzerland, and Kuwait. We are also currently developing our presence in the self-edited furniture market in the USA,” the contemporary designer expounds on his creative plans.
Author of a prestigious club on Place de la Concorde, the architect and furniture designer's works are far-reaching, encompassing but not limited to, designs for public spaces, hotels, and restaurants, apart from designing furniture for Fendi Casa, for whom he imagines modern collections in a 'privileged relationship.' He also collaborates with Dior, which selects certain pieces of Lemaire’s contemporary furniture for their showrooms and boutiques worldwide.
Moreover, Lemaire has created his own design line, celebrated last year by the Mobilier National which chose one of his desks for President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysée Palace. “His collaborative approach commits it to dialogue with its clients in order to meet their aspirations in projects that are close as possible to their needs and desires. High-quality living spaces that he deploys all over the world, in Beirut, Paris or Gstaad, imbued with his culture, his vision of the French art of living, and the savoir-faire of craftsmen whom he collaborates with,” shares his design team.
Sui generis in its simple intent, structural design, and visual appeal, Lemaire’s latest furniture collection forgoes superfluous adornment and instead, opts for timeless elegance, grace, comfort, and material tenacity. Meticulous in approach, his latest designs display affection and loyalty to natural materials and refined craftsmanship, perhaps, presenting an antithesis to the mass production of products that we are so used to discard.