Interview with Guillaume Alan

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     We get to know the well-respected designer responsible for our issue #29 cover starGuillaume Alan – and his eponymous studios in London and Paris. 

    Guillaume Alan’s work has long been on the est radar, debuting their two-storey penthouse on Victor Hugo Avenue in the heart of Paris inside est magazine nearly four years ago. It’s a beautiful example of timeless design; clean and minimal, and exempt from trends that could easily have you believe it was designed yesterday. Just last year the studio introduced us to a new Paris Apartment that graced the cover of est magazine issue #29, proving to be a masterclass in aesthetic restraint. 

    Since opening his Paris studio at age 22, Guillaume Alan has been refining this luxury of less. Now with his name also to a London Studio headed by Emilie Le Corre (our design insider at Maison & Objet 2019), Guillaume Alan and his team ensure consistency by focusing on the finest tradition of French design. We caught up with leading designer Guillaume Alan to learn some more about his guiding design principles, maintaining a conceptual, considered approach between firms and his favourite design spaces around the world. 

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    Guillaume Alan

    Firstly, Guillaume Alan, when did you decide to open a studio of your own and why?

    Guillaume Alan: I grew up in the world of architecture and design; my father was an architect, my mother an interior designer and my grandmother an antique dealer. Naturally I then decided to launch my own studio when I was 22, in Saint-Germain-des-Prés in Paris. Since, we have opened another design studio in London lead by my design partner, Emilie Le Corre. She plays a fundamental role in the process of obtaining an exclusive outcome.

    Could you please tell us about your journey into interior design and architecture; why did you choose this path?

    Guillaume Alan: I see projects as complete when architecture, interior design and furniture pieces are perfectly linked. My approach is global, in the finest tradition of French design and ‘décorateurs ensembliers’. Because when every element is drawn by the same hand, harmony can happen.

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    Paris Apartment by Guillaume Alan
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    Paris Apartment by Guillaume Alan

    You have two offices; one in Paris and one in London. Which studio was opened first? How do you collaborate and communicate?

    Guillaume Alan: Our Parisian studio opened first in 2002 and the London one was launched eight years ago. We have dedicated teams working on our projects in both studios and it’s always very interesting to see how they interact and exchange, always in quest for great ideas and perfection. I am very proud of this.

    How do you ensure consistency between both of your studios?

    Guillaume Alan: In my spare time between both of these cities, but Emilie leads the London studio. As we share the same vision of what is an extraordinary rarity, I always feel confident about the work our studios achieve. Together, we try to reflect our sensibility to arouse emotions; this is why our interiors are unique and recognisable.

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    Paris Apartment by Guillaume Alan
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    Paris Apartment by Guillaume Alan

    Your work is most commonly described as minimalist. Why do you work towards this essential quality in your work? Why do you think it’s important to design minimalist spaces?

    Guillaume Alan: I always focus on trying to treat and define space in a very clean way, with a very pure and flawless approach. We create architecture and interiors with a feeling of wellbeing, trying to achieve emotional and calming spaces. But I am always inspired by history. I love when minimalism meets classicism. Strong lines and impeccable proportions are always balanced with douceur brought by curved lines of the furniture and soft textures and palette. It’s all about restraint in architecture and elements but opulent in spirit.

    Could you please share one of your most significant design lessons to date?

    Guillaume Alan: Never give up on an idea even if it appears difficult to realise.

    How are you designing homes for the future?

    Guillaume Alan: Focusing on authenticity and beauty, a quest of creativity and creation.We’re obsessed with detail and with a passion for craftsmanship, without ostentation. I am working on tactile and luxurious schemes: woods in brushed finishes, natural marble, bronze, natural linen, soft leather, wool, silk and brass – always on a totally bespoke palette.

    What’s next for Guillaume Alan?

    Guillaume Alan: We are currently working on some very exciting new residential projects and private residences while also starting important and challenging commercial projects.

    Finally, your quick designer insider guide:

    Favourite local designers and studios?

    Guillaume Alan: Jean-Michel Frank, Mies van der Rohe, Tadao Ando, Le Corbusier, Kengo Kuma, Axel Vervoordt.

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    Avenue Victor Hugo by Guillaume Alan

    Where do you go to look at great design?

    Guillaume Alan: Anywhere, on the street in Paris or London or during my travels and also in nature where I love to walk with my dog.

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    Avenue Victor Hugo by Guillaume Alan
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    Avenue Victor Hugo by Guillaume Alan
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    Avenue Victor Hugo by Guillaume Alan
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    Avenue Victor Hugo by Guillaume Alan

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