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An Interiors Odyssey: The Timeless Design of Jacques Grange

Over the past 50 years, Jacques Grange has established himself as the go-to interior designer for esteemed collectors, artists, designers, and tastemakers, including icons like Yves Saint Laurent and François Pinault. In a captivating new...

Over the past 50 years, Jacques Grange has established himself as the go-to interior designer for esteemed collectors, artists, designers, and tastemakers, including icons like Yves Saint Laurent and François Pinault. In a captivating new book, collector and Galerie du Passage founder Pierre Passebon delves into Grange's boundless creativity and impeccable taste.

Excerpted from Jacques Grange: Recent Work with permission from the publisher, Flammarion/Rizzoli New York. Words by Pierre Passebon. Translated by Barbara Mellor. Photographs by François Halard.

As a child, Jacques was a dreamer with a penchant for drawing. His schoolwork may have suffered, but his teachers reassured his mother that she needn't worry about his future. Against his father's advice, she enrolled Jacques at the École Boulle in Paris, a college of fine arts and crafts. It was a blissful experience for Jacques, as he delved into subjects like cabinetmaking, tapestry weaving, model making, and art history.

Growing up, Jacques was surrounded by a generation that furnished their homes for a lifetime, at a time when divorce was uncommon. Interior design and decoration were distant concepts. However, a friend introduced Jacques to the opulent interiors of the Bolloré family's hôtel particulier, designed by Henri Samuel. This revelation opened his eyes to the vast possibilities of interior design as a profession. Years later, Jacques secured an internship with Henri Samuel, kickstarting his remarkable career.

Assisting Henri Samuel was a transformative experience for Jacques. He worked on prestigious projects such as the restoration of the Grand Trianon at Versailles, commissioned by Minister of Culture André Malraux for President de Gaulle's esteemed guests. Jacques also took charge of decorating the Château d'Armainvilliers, owned by Edmond de Rothschild, and Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet's apartment featuring remarkable bronze bookcases by Diego Giacometti. Through these projects, Jacques honed his skills in seamlessly blending classical and modern elements.

One amusing memory that Jacques cherishes is his visits to Diego Giacometti, who had a charming yet frustrating habit of prioritizing attractive female clients over others. Throughout these projects, Jacques learned the importance of upholding traditional French craftsmanship and collaborating with skilled artisans.

Later on, Jacques discovered Art Deco during a vacation at the Noailles' modernist house in Hyères, which was designed by Robert Mallet-Stevens in 1925. The vibrant works of artists like Pierre Chareau and Djo-Bourgeois captivated him. This newfound appreciation for Art Deco sparked a fashion trend that still endures today.

Jacques maintained a close relationship with the Noailles family, especially Marie-Laure's husband, Charles de Noailles. Charles, a passionate gardener and horticulturalist, took a keen interest in the work of young interior designers. His valuable advice guided Jacques throughout his career, reminding him to steer clear of transient fads. Jacques continues to share a deep connection with the Noailles family, working closely with the youngest child, Natalie Perrone, and her son Carlo and his wife Polissena on various projects.

Travel has always been a wellspring of inspiration for Jacques. Through his association with the Pahlavi family, he discovered the ethereal beauty of Iran and India, particularly the captivating Mogul art. The 1970s brought forth a decade of adventure and exploration, deeply influencing both fashion and decoration. Morocco, in particular, left an indelible mark on Jacques. During his stay with Yves Saint Laurent, he encountered the vibrant colors of North Africa and the Middle East, intertwining with the influence of pop art. From that point on, Jacques' designs radiated with vivid hues, a testament to his remarkable eye for color.

Jacques shared a close bond with Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé, both renowned collectors. He had the privilege of designing their homes, including Yves' avant-garde studio apartment on avenue de Breteuil and Pierre's suite at the Hôtel Lutetia. The Moroccan residences, including Villa Oasis in Marrakech's Jardin Majorelle and Villa Mabrouka in Tangier, reflect his exceptional ability to create spaces that harmoniously blend luxury and comfort.

Interior design, Jacques believes, is a collaborative effort. His loyal co-workers, alongside the talented craftsmen and women who bring his vision to life, have played an invaluable role in achieving his high standards. From grand palaces to cozy homes, each project presents him with a unique set of challenges and a chance to explore a captivating range of styles. And while opulence has its place, Jacques has always cherished the simplicity and warmth of humble abodes. His passion for cabanas and untamed places is particularly evident in Comporta, Portugal, where his distinctive style has become a fashion benchmark.

To Jacques, creating a home is an act of love. He believes that love truly works miracles. And with his innate eye for design and unwavering dedication to his craft, Jacques Grange has undoubtedly worked countless miracles throughout his illustrious career.

An Interiors Odyssey: The Work of Jacques Grange An Interiors Odyssey: The Work of Jacques Grange

From France Today magazine

Lead photo credit: Portrait of Jacques Grange. Photo credit: JÉRÔME MACE