Famous for her warm, contemporary style, Sarah Lavoine, interior designer and designer, is enjoying a run of remarkable success. What is her secret? Her sense of lightness and happiness, that she manages to instil into each of the locations on which she works. Open to the world and in love with Paris, she tells us about her latest achievements and shares her favourite addresses in the capital with LUXOS.
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Slim and sophisticated, her figure enhanced by a white trouser suit, low heels, and free-flowing long blonde hair, Sarah Lavoine has the elegance of a woman going places. With good reason. From when she opened her studio in 2002, the designer has been working on many different fronts. She is involved in a growing number of ambitious projects, such as Elle Café in Tokyo, the 40,000 m2 office premises for L'Oréal Paris, private residences, and studios under the capital’s distinctive rooftops. "Fortunately, I can rely on a great team!" she says. The refurbishment project at the Roch, a 5-star hotel, was a landmark experience that she would love to repeat. "I consider a hotel as an exceptional means of expression." As for the new premises for Printemps, the famous department store in the Opéra district, she has given it the spirit of the vast Haussmann apartments, from herringbone parquet to glass doors.
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She works on volumes and light, the careful use of black, "an essential friend who conceals or reveals," touches of colour such as the famous ‘Sarah blue,’ stripes, and natural materials. Her style, a subtle blend of classical refinement and bohemian relaxation, is derived from her incessant travel as well as her taste for typically French style. This is demonstrated to perfection by her boutiques. "They were created as a result of the idea of selling the furniture I was designing to the public. After shops on Rue du Bac and Rue Saint-Roch, not to forget my e-shop, I inaugurated my first concept store a few months ago. It is designed like a house, and inside you will discover my entire universe. Furniture, objects, books, brands with which I work, and even my new collection of women's fashion. And what’s more, you can also have a bite to eat at lunchtime!"
With her disarming spontaneity, how would Sarah Lavoine define the new tenets of the Parisian art of living? "Having a strong identity is good, but it is important not to get trapped in dogma, and we mustn’t take ourselves too seriously! We remain small compared to the major French brands in the sector. We try to maintain quality while being accessible at the same time."
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If you ask her what she finds in Paris that cannot be found anywhere else, she responds with a spontaneous smile "My heart ...". Of course she is thinking of her husband – singer and actor Marc Lavoine – and Yasmine, Milo and Roman, their children. "I try to teach them how to observe." A book, a picture, the city, the place that she knows so well. In particular, the Saint-Honoré neighbourhood where she lives and works. "Many people criticize Paris, but in actual fact there are a lot of great and innovative things going on! I like leaving to go somewhere else, but I love coming back." And this gave us the perfect opportunity to ask for some of her tips. We’re sure that they will all share a bit of her infectious happiness.
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