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Mountain Living, Portraits of Style Visionaries
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At Esensual Living, we love how innovative architects and designers are creating stylish contemporary alpine interiors and hotels where the WOW factor is not just the view outside! Whether in Courchevel with Joseph Dirand's upcoming opening of l'Apogée or in St Moritz with Gilles et Boissier for Moncler's President Remo Ruffino or in Aspen with Caroline Sarkozy or in Gstaad with Thierry Lemaire - Mountain Style has taken a new direction.
 
Designers are mixing contemporary design with traditional elements, creating strong, open spaces decorated with noble materials like stone, wood and metal, alongside natural fabrics such as wool, linen and cashmere. We’ve come along way from the humble ski hut but it’s not been entirely forgotten.. In answering our three questions, this month’s Style Visionaries unveil their choice of Mountain Style and update as to how it has evolved over the years towards a more understated and livable luxury.
 
1. Describe your ideal ski chalet or alpine interior – which architectural style or design most resonates with you?
 
2. Which home textiles are a must to create your perfect mountain or chalet atmosphere?

3. After an adventurous day in the snow, what are your favorite wellbeing rituals?
 
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Joseph Dirand
Adrien Dirand
 

Joseph Dirand

Joseph Dirand is globally known as one of today’s rising stars in architecture and interior design. At the age of 38, his varied and vast project portfolio allows him to transcend the past and anchor himself in the powerful modernity that has become his signature. His approach to interior design is radical. All about installing sculptural volumes and creating structural tensions that capture the contemporary spirit. He shuns decorative effects, favouring monographic schemes and minimalist detailing.

“I choose everything from the furniture to the home scents. The smallest detail is ever so important,” says Dirand.

His design for the iconic fashion house Balmain’s Paris flagship store in 2001 propelled him into the limelight.  Commissions for Pucci in New York, Alexander Wang in Beijing and Rick Owens in London quickly followed, as well as glamorous restaurants such as the new Parisian hit Monsieur Bleu, and private homes for major art collectors.

Hotels are among his favourite projects and his latest, l’Apogée in Courchevel, introduces us to Dirand’s very own interpretation of Mountain Style.

 

1. Describe your ideal ski chalet or alpine interior – which architectural style or design most resonates with you?
My mountain dream house would be a small, ancient town house like the ones you find in towns like St Moritz, or a minimal house all in wood, lost in a forest, with a “Ours Polaire” living room set by Jean Royère.

2. Which home textiles are a must to create your perfect mountain or chalet atmosphere?
A wool chevron throw and mohair velvet blankets.

3. After an adventurous day in the snow, what are your favorite wellbeing rituals?
I like to lie on my bed in front of the fireplace listening to music before spending some time in the hammam with the lovely pure bar of soaps from RPL Maison.

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Adrien Dirand
 
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Patrick Gilles & Dorothée Boissier
Patrick Swirc
 

 

 

Gilles & Boissier

Interior designers Patrick Gilles and Dorothée Boissier are a couple as well as professional partners. They met while Patrick was working for Christian Liaigre and Dorothée for Philippe Starck, before joining forces in 2004, to develop their own serene vision of contemporary style under the banner Gilles & Boissier.

Gilles presence is felt in the elegant and symmetrical lines that prevail in his interior architecture while Dorothée brings a soft sensuality. The unique harmony of their collaboration is evident in their first furniture line “Oxymores”.  Collaborating with Moncler president & art director Remo Ruffini to design the brand’s luxurious ski clothing boutiques throughout the world is testimony to their depth of talent.

 

1. Describe your ideal ski chalet or alpine interior – which architectural style or design most resonates with you? My dream mountain retreat would be an old chalet in the forest with a nice view opening towards the west. It would be built in old wood, have generous fireplaces, high ceilings and be furnished with slick, comfortable furniture.

2. Which home textiles are a must to create your perfect mountain or chalet atmosphere? Cashmere almost everywhere – the Kajaal, Cecchi&Cecchi and Teixidors throws and bedcovers make perfect accents. Linen for the curtains along with white hand tufted silk carpets that are a Tai Ping speciality.

3. After an adventurous day in the snow, what are your favorite wellbeing rituals? After a day in the snow, I like to lie down and relax. Then, after a homemade hot chocolate with whipped cream, I take a dive in the pool with my kids.

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Sisters Agency
 
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CAROLINE SARKOZY
Reto Guntil
 

 

 

 

Caroline Sarkozy

Decorator Caroline Sarkozy’s counts Aspen, Colorado, as one of her most loved ski resorts, where she says she feels “mesmerized by the scale and splendor of the scenery”. A chalet she recently finished decorating is a fine example of her eclectic and sophisticated taste that comes together in her own interpretation of easy-going refinement.

 

1. Describe your ideal ski chalet or alpine interior – which architectural style or design most resonates with you? In my chalets, forget the mountain folklore of bears, snowflakes and stars… I favour the authenticity of vintage wood, lead, iron and rustic motifs but I also like to twist the tradition, for example, I am recalling the red and white chevrons of the Swiss shutters which I once brought inside as a decorative element. As my partner Laurent Bourgois says, “In the mountains, always keep the architecture stark”. It is the decoration, colour palette and materials that provide the personal touch.

2. Which home textiles are a must to create your perfect mountain or chalet atmosphere? I love mountain whites… for me, the perfect bed is made up with Turpault’s immaculate Venise sheets, Cecchi&Cecchi’s white Tatto blanket and Caravane’s Alba bedcover in Snow.  I also like to bring soft textures and vibrant details to a room, like the Everyday throw by Arcade Avec in orange.

3. After an adventurous day in the snow, what are your favorite wellbeing rituals? I like to relax with a glass of hot wine next to the fire at 5pm, after skiing at another of my favorite resorts, Gstaad.

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Mathieu Garçon
 
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Xavier Bejot
 

 

 

Thierry Lemaire

Architect and interior designer Thierry Lemaire blends an innate sense of proportion with rigorous lines, evident in both his interiors and his strong, vibrant and often sculptural furniture.

Whether it a magnificent chalet in Gstaad, a contemporary urban apartment in Paris or a wonderfully spacious boutique in the Middle East, his interiors evoke an immediate sense of wellbeing.

Original and bold, Lemaire is not afraid of using humour and employing unusual materials, including bronze and the apaca banana plant. His designs are available at Fendi Casa and at Holly Hunt in the US.

 

1. Describe your ideal ski chalet or alpine interior – which architectural style or design most resonates with you?
I like the energy that mixing traditional elements alongside contemporary design, brings to mountain interiors. I use the classics - wood and stone – with unexpected materials such as bronze, lacquer and mirror. To my own furniture design, I add other pieces dating from the 50s to the 80s - which make a room fun and comfortable - and strong, modern and contemporary art. I feel today’s approach to style gives a positive jolt to mountain decors.

2. Which home textiles are a must to create your perfect mountain or chalet atmosphere?
Wool and velvet mohair are favourites of mine as well different types of leather. I also add touches of cashmere and abaca.

3. After an adventurous day in the snow, what are your favorite wellbeing rituals?
After a day on the slopes in Val d’Isère, I love eating local brioche and drinking orange juice before slipping into a boiling hot bath.

mountain-living mountain-living
Adrien Dirand
 

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