2017 = HOUSE & GARDEN FEATURE + NEW WESBITE





2017 was pretty good for A-Gent of Style. Getting the Designer Profile feature in the December issue of House & Garden was the highlight of the year and a wonderful Christmas present for which I am extremely grateful. Launching the website fabricebana.com was also a milestone.

January 2018 has already got a few exciting projects in the pipeline.
The best has yet to come…Let’s trust the magic of beginnings!












HOTEL de JOBO








Joséphine Bonaparte was actually born Marie Josèphe Rose Tascher de la Pager. Try that as an Instagram handle! But in today’s world, the once French Empress would probably be known on social media and in celebrity magazines as JoBo.

The Martinique-born lover and first wife of Napoléon Bonaparte, Rose de Beauharnais (she was married first to the aristocrat Alexandre de Beauharnais) was renamed “Josephine” by the French emperor. Her style and elegance were emulated across Europe and her influence as an avid art collector and decorator was considerable. Idolised as a style icon and celebrated as a modern woman and trendsetter, it is no wonder she has become today the fantasised inspiration behind a new boutique hotel in Paris.





JoBo came to A-Gent of Style‘s attention only after coming back from Paris Déco Off last month. Little did he know at the time that its charismatic and talented interior decorator was herself too part of the Déco Off’s jury and that they spent the first day together  judging the showrooms!

The Hôtel de Joséphine Bonaparte, in its full designation or simply JoBo to those in the know, opened last summer steps away from La Place des Vosges in Le Marais, the multi-faceted part of old Paris. The once 17th Century convent’s new decor was entirely inspired by and dedicated to Joséphine Bonaparte. The 24 bedrooms and public areas are a riot of colours and bold patterns, and an ode to all things JoBo came to symbolise and love, first and foremost her passion of roses – she had, at the time, the greatest and largest rose collection in the world that was made up of about 250 species and varieties at Malmaison. The flower can be found all around the hotel, either as a wallpaper, a chintz and the carpets throughout the hotel which have been designed by the decorator herself.





Enters Bambi Sloan. A-Gent of Style was mesmerised by all of the images of the hotel he found online as soon as he delved into her creation.  Sloan’s approach is studied and intelligent but also frivolous and gay. The hotel captures the insouciance but also the refinement of the post-French revolution era as well as the eponymous heroine’s character. Sloan playfully throws bold patterns and colours together referencing to the Directoire style with a gentle nod to Madeleine Castaing too (the leopard-print carpet, the turquoise colour, the gauze curtains…). Walls and upholstery are adorned in either plush velvets, Toiles de Jouy, striped tricolour cockade, leopard-print or swirling swags of roses, some of which come from the archives of the iconic Le Manach at Pierre Frey.  The explosion of hot pinks and reds of the Adelphi Paper Hangings wallpapers and friezes as well as the flower power carpet give the corridor a sophisticated and glowing Red Lights district-esque atmosphere. The trompe-l-oeil marquetry parquet and the ebonised and brass detailed furniture anchor the rooms whilst the bathrooms have a more neutral yet impactful palette of black, silver and white marble mosaics. As for the entrance to the hotel, the colourful, flowery, chintzy tented courtyard certainly sets the tone for the rest of the hotel.

Last but not least, thumbs up to the owners of the hotel for having a whole section dedicated to the interior decoration. Not only do they credit the decorator (I always find it puzzling that, online or in some magazines, the creators of what makes the whole venue are hardly ever credited; surely, without them, it wouldn’t be what it is so why ignore them!?) but also they describe the feel and design of the rooms as well as mentioning the names of some of the fabrics or wallpapers and their manufacturers. I like that. A lot.

This wacky but witty rock ‘n’ roll luxurious boudoir has undoubtedly a lot of character and is not for the faint-hearted nor the taupe brigade! It is eccentric, zany, and imbued with history and cheekiness. A-Gent of Style knows exactly where he will be heading first next time he is in ze French capital. The main dilemma will be then: which type of bedroom to stay in?…

And if you want to delve a bit more into Jobo’s life, read the feature Josephine, Imperial Tastemaker I wrote after I reviewed in 2014 an exhibition at the Musee du Luxembourg celebrating the legend.



















































































































































MUSEE DES ARTS DECORATIFS: a PIERRE FREY RETROSPECTIVE and a WALLPAPER TRIBUTE in PARIS





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Fresh from the enthralling whirlwind of events surrounding this January instalment of the Paris Déco Off – for which A-Gent of Style was a jury member – and all its peripheral launches, openings and bashes, A-Gent of Style will particularly remember the private event last week of the jaw-dropping Pierre Frey exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs as well as the Museum’s own tribute to 400 years of its own archive wallpapers. If you missed out on all the fun last week, A-Gent of Style would urge any wall hanging enthusiast to jump on a Eurostar this spring even for the day.


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The first major tribute ever paid to this major figure in interior decoration, Tissus Inspirés takes us chronologically through eighty years of creation, highlighting the skills and knowledge defining the Pierre Frey spirit and vision. The presentation of fabrics and wallpapers is complemented by works from the museum’s permanent collections and creations by contemporary artists brought together specially for the occasion and showing the considerable impact that Pierre Frey has made on current artistic practices. Celebrating this unique company’s history and identity, this exhibition takes visitors behind the scenes of a furnishing fabrics and wallpaper publishing house to reveal its sources of inspiration and production methods.

 

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This exhibition features the finest creations produced by Maison Pierre Frey since 1935. In the Study Gallery’s six rooms, it brings together some two hundred works from the creator’s collection illustrating the eclecticism and artistic collaborations that have characterized its history. Born in 1903, Pierre Frey started out in the furnishing fabrics world at the age of seventeen as a cutter for Maison Burger. He later became director of Maison Lauer, where he met the designer Jean Chatanay, with whom he created their own company. In 1937, he bought his partner’s shares in the firm and founded Maison Pierre Frey at 47 rue des Petits-Champs, where the company’s registered office still is today. The production values he established have remained unchanged thanks to his three grandchildren and his son, Patrick Frey, in charge of the company since 1975.

 

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The first room shows the stages and techniques involved in creating and producing a textile and the fabric publisher’s profession. Every Pierre Frey creation is a close collaboration between designer, weaver and printer, all of whose commitment is vital in achieving the company’s high quality standards. From the sketch to the finished product, the wealth of patterns, colours and materials of the pieces on display explore the creator’s stylistic identity. In the next rooms emblematic Pierre Frey textiles and wallpapers are presented alongside works from the Musée des Arts décoratifs. Their association emphasises the historical and artistic contexts in which they were created and evokes the tastes and tendencies of former times.

This historic approach to Pierre Frey’s work is revisited by a contemporary vision emphasising its modernity and topicality: four capsule collections by contemporary designers paying tribute to Pierre Frey. In the space covering the period from 1935 to 1959, Julien Colombier has created a printed fabric whose vivid colours react differently to ultraviolet light, creating a changing perception of the material in function of the lighting. In counterpoint to Pierre Frey creations from 1960-1979, Benjamin Graindorge’s wallpaper explores the problems of visual perception using the pixel as basic unit in spirit of the Op Art artists of the early 1970s. Marcel Wanders revisits Pierre Frey productions from 1980 to 1999 by reinterpreting the ever-present theme of the flower, and Nao Tamura, reflecting on Pierre Frey fabrics from 2000 to 2015, draws on her own universe to create a Jaquard Loom fabric, produced by the Pierre Frey factory in northern France, in which nature is omnipresent. The exhibition ends with a homage to Pierre Frey by seven artists of different nationalities working in different fields. They were asked to reflect on key Pierre Frey concepts: colour, ink, history, texture, pattern and the rustling of the fabric. Julien Salaud, Peter Gentenaar, Michelle Taylor-Dorset, Paule Riché, Kumi Yamashita, Memo Akten and Label Dalbin pay tribute to and metamorphose Maison Pierre Frey’s creative combination of tradition and modernity and project it into the future.



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And one floor up from the Pierre Frey exhibition, you will find the museum’s tantalising collection of wallpapers covering four centuries.


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Revealing the wealth of the Wallpaper Department’s exceptional collection, Faire le Mur features three hundred emblematic pieces selected from the reserve collection of more than 400,000 items. The exhibition juxtaposes and compares wallpapers from different periods and origins to illustrate the broad range of styles and skills in use from the 18th century to the present day. It shows wallpaper’s major role in the history of the decorative arts, whilst highlighting some of the jewels of the largest wallpaper collection in the world.



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