“A LONDONER IN PARIS”: THE IM-PRESS-IVE, DOMINO-ED WORLD OF ANTOINETTE POISSON




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They say patience is a virtue. In today’s fast-moving world of the Internet and the blogosphere where ‘being on the button’ and the first person to cover a topic are key, patience can be fatal. Four months ago, A-Gent of Style took the risky decision of waiting until today to finally feature one of his most exciting discoveries from the world of decoration since the beginning of the new year.

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Back in January this year, A-Gent of Style visited Maison & Objet in Paris to focus solely on Hall 7, where the more selective and high-end stands of Les Editeurs and Scènes d’Intérieur are gathered. By pure happenstance, he came across
Antoinette Poisson and, enraptured ever since by the discovery of their sheer brilliancy, decided to wait for his next trip to the City of Light to visit them in their studio and give them the extensive exposure they truly deserve.


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As soon as he arrived in the Gallic capital last Friday to resume his series
‘A Londoner in Paris’A-Gent of Style made his way to Bastille, in the 11th Arrondissement, skipping along the River Seine with eagerness, to visit
Antoinette Poisson in their atelier and dwell into their ravishing world situated in the picturesque and bucolic Cour Damoye, off the Place de la Bastille, once the lair of Parisian decorators in the 18th century. The much-anticipated reunion between A-Gent of Style and Antoinette Poisson finally took place and the studio visit unexpectedly turned into an interview, a photo shoot and a delicious lunch at a local brasserie. The utterly charming team did not disappoint. Far from it.

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 Antoinette Poisson produces single-sheet, hand-blocked wallpapers, known as ‘dominos’, reproduced or inspired by 18th century documents using traditional techniques of the time. Founded in 2012 by a triumvirate of young paper conservators, Julie Stordiau, Vincent Farelly and Jean-Baptiste Martin graduated eight years ago from the Institut National du Patrimoine and the Sorbonne, and then trained seperately for several years working on wallpaper conservation projects and reconstruction for historic interiors in France, England and Belgium. Two years ago, the 21 century dominotiers took the challenge to create Antoinette Poisson to not only pay homage to the artistic tradition of the 18th century which they cherish and now specialise in, but also to revive the splendour of the era’s intimate interiors, reintroduce an almost-forgotten tradition and revive the art of making domino wallpapers, today on the wane and on the risk of ‘extinction’.


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As for “Antoinette Poisson”, there is nothing, ahem, fishy about the name but simply a storied and catchy play on the actual identity of Antoinette Poisson Jeanne Antoinette Poisson better known as Marquise de Pompadour, mistress of Louis XV, patron of the decorative arts and great lover of wallpaper – then all the rage in the middle of the 18th century.

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Originally used to decorate the interiors of cabinets, chests and intimate small rooms, dominos are single sheets of hand-blocked wallpapers measuring approximately 32 x 42 cm each (rolls only appeared at the end of the 18th century). Comprising eight sheets per square metre, they can therefore be assembled together at the decorator’s leisure thus allowing for a wide variety of combinations.
The trio produces dominos in their atelier using traditional 18th century techniques on hand-made (and soft to the touch) rag paper made for them by a maître papetier in Angoulême called Jacques Bréjoux; the colouring is made by hand or stencilled. The installation requires a wall specialist.


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A-Gent of Style
fell head over heels at Maison & Objet for the enchanting vignette Antoinette Poisson created for their first ‘outing’ on the design scene, and has since been obsessed by the mesmeric visuals of their first collection and the mixed profusion of styles that gave the impression of the accretion of past generations.

The fourteen designs (three colourways each; they do bespoke colours too) are bursting with delicate and exquisite motifs, fresh and bold colours, and also striking graphics and typography. Replete with a synaesthesia of Rococo-esque florid patterns such as fleurons and indiennes as well as more contemporary geometrics which rub shoulders with one another and seamlessly complement each other, the collection is split between reproductions from historical dominos papers, inspirations from archives and new creations.

For Maison & Objet, Antoinette Poisson collaborated with Mariétou Kandji, a textile designer for the home and fashion (Hermès, Kenzo, Chanel) to design and create additional designs to their hand-blocked wallpapers and textiles. The engravings for the hand-blocked wallpapers are also used for framed artwork and upholstery fabrics which are printed on antique linen or embossed velvet, which they have used lately to make cushions (or even dinner mats for the Elle Deco café at Maison & Objet).



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Antoinette Poisson‘s unique daring vision, artisanal savoir-faire and rarefied style are deservedly receiving more and more attention as we speak; in the press (click here), on television (you can see a small video in French by Les Arts de Vivre here – starts at 2.00min), on the radio (hear an interview in French on France Culture here) and in the next few weeks, a few leading international design magazines will be featuring these rising stars.

Maîtres dominotiers of the 21st century with a surprinsgly contemporary feel, Julie, Jean-Baptiste, Vincent and their dominos are clearly fast becoming ‘les darlings’ of the decorative world; as a matter of fact, they have just been snapped on the other side of the pond by American design gurus and tastemakers John Derian and Michael S. Smith who will be representing Antoinette Poisson in their New York and Los Angeles showrooms respectively. Fame and recognition beckon. As for their representation in the UK…what do they say again about patience?? Stay tuned!



The studio:

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Past commissions:


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A new creation:

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Some restoration work:


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– All photos by Antoinette Poisson, Sandro di Carlo Darsa and A-Gent of Style




“A CLOSET OF CURIOSITIES” BY SASHA BIKOFF




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Today, A-Gent of Style would like to introduce you to his new designer crush and rising star of design, Sasha Bikoff. A few days ago, Domaine, the brilliant American online design site, revealed the latest and beautifully curated project of the precociously talented 25-year-old American designer, a 4700-square-foot apartment in Manhattan iconic Dakota building on the Upper West Side.


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Similarly to Nicky Haslam’s new London apartment featured here last week, Bikoff’s total renovation for her client’s new abode is permeated with a fascinating mix of eclectic styles, invigorating colour vibrancy (who wouldn’t want to wake up in a Ladurée-coloured jewel box?), a feminine and glamourous touch, and a bold, fresh and whimsical approach (“I think that people are very afraid to use color and opt for neutrals because it’s safe.” Bikoff says). Once again, there is no sense here of trying to impress and show off but simply a chic yet relaxed environment that captures the client’s personality and lifestyle. Ravishing bespoke hand-painted wallpapers by De Gournay and furniture and objets such as Milo Baughman cantilevered barrel chairs and a French bronze palm chandelier by Bagues, scoured and sourced from international antiques stores and auction sites such as 1st Dibs, rub shoulders and are happily juxtaposed next to less valuable pieces from retail design darlings like Chippendale armchairs from Jonathan Adler or a cotton rug by Madeline Weinrib.

A-Gent of Style was particularly taken by the intense royal blue lacquered walls of the study (see his retrospective here), the wonderfully happy colour combination of melon and mint green in the dining room (the green ikat-ey fabric on the settee is rather wonderful too), the malachite print echoed throughout the dressing room (brilliant use of electric blinds on the wardrobes), the ultimate elegant boudoir look of the master bedroom (a lilac scheme Hamish Bowles would most probably fall for) especially the verre eglomisé effect on the bed posters, the curved corners of the ceiling in the sitting room and the Moorish gold radiator grilles amongst others.



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– Photos by Domaine and Sasha Bikoff –






MAKE IT POP: JEFF KOONS & DOM PERIGNON





Art and champagne. Two of A-Gent of Style‘s favourite things merging together. Heaven.



Contemporary American artist Jeff Koons has teamed up with legendary French luxury champagne maker Dom Pérignon to produce a scaled-down version of his stupendous Balloon Venus sculpture.






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In tainted high chromium stainless steel with transparent color coating dress, the special edition sculpture  – only 650 hundreds specimens were created – of this collaborative project houses a bottle of the Rosé Vintage 2003 preciously cradled and guarded by its 2 ft. tall, voluptuous encasement, a modern-day,
goddess-of-wine Venus.






“The gift box was designed by Jeff Koons himself, for both Dom Pérignon Vintage 2004 and Dom Pérignon Rosé Vintage 2003”, explains Dom Pérignon, “with a careful all-embracing conception of the outside and the inside facets. The outside reproduces on a dark background the Balloon Venus for Dom Pérignon matching their colour with the cuvée: pink for the Rosé and yellow for the Blanc. A view of the artist’s studio is visible on the reflective surface of the Balloon Venus and refers to the creative energy of the artist. The image is underlined by Jeff Koons’ signature. From the outside, the gift box extends the feeling of being in the presence of Balloon Venus, as the reproduction sets à 360° view of the object.
The gift box opens to expose the bottle, unveiling first an elaborate design that simulates the iridescent interior of the original sculpture made of high chromium stainless steel with transparent colour coating dress. The iconic Dom Pérignon bottle erupts, exactly as it does from the body of the Balloon Venus
for Dom Pérignon, magnifying the revelation.”









“The bottle foils give a pop-twist to the colour of its cuvée, Dom Pérignon Blanc or Rosé, interpreting the tension between the colours and the dark bottle” adds Koons. “It bears a metallic shield with the same colour layout as the foil and the box. The label plays with coloured surface on the depth of shield, emphasizing its allure, playful and still mysterious.”

 



“‘Dom Pérignon by Jeff Koons’ prolongs the encounter between Dom Pérignon and Jeff Koons”, explains the prestige house’s chef de cave, Richard Geoffroy. “After creating the Balloon Venus for Dom Pérignon Rosé, Jeff Koons transposed its creation and re-designed the iconic codes of Dom Pérignon’s bottle and gift box, by taking inspiration from the shapes and colours of Balloon Venus. This Limited Edition is the ultimate expression of the fruitful collaboration based on absolute shared vision of the power of creation and of collaboration.” 



For the collaborative project, the sculpture with a bottle of champagne will set you back $20,000 USD, ahem, a pop – a bargain considering Koons’s twelve-foot stainless steel sculpture “Balloon Dog” sold for $58.4 million (£36.8m) at an auction at Christie’s in New York two weeks ago, making it the most expensive piece of art by a living artist sold at auction.






 “Venus of Willendorf”, a, 11cm high palaeolithic figurine found in Austria in 1908, dating back to around 23, 000 years BC considered to be one of the earliest known depictions of the human form “proposes a new kind of idol, a modern-day goddess of love who embraces her beholder in reflective curves and suggests fecundity and creation”,  Koons explains. “It’s both masculine and feminine. Well, if you look at the inside – it’s like a Rorschach, but you can pick up on some of the masculine elements, even the shape of the bottle there, and if you look at the Balloon Venus from the front, it’s so fertile.”


 

A pop-up shop was specially created in the Assouline bookshop in Claridge’s where the highly collectable took centre stage. A-Gent of Style was dazzled by this explosion of neon pop shocking pink, a true feast for the eyes, heightening the artist’s trademark creative verve and the creative collision.

 

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For the ‘sweetie dahlings’ amongst us, two less lavish and more accessible limited-edition gift boxes were also created with the Rosé Vintage 2003 and
the Blanc Vintage 2004 going for £330 and £155, respectively,
available at Harvey Nichs.



“Being creative is trying to expand what the possibilities are”,
says Jeff Koons. “Within the gift boxes, we discover, with an exceptional playfulness and intensity, two Vintages of the year: Dom Pérignon 2004—intense, elegant and radiant—and Dom Pérignon Rosé 2003—vibrant, seductive and infringing.
A promise of a both divine and profane experience.”





http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwmtUql8h7c




Cheers! and happy Friday!






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