We started out as a family business here at Layer and we always love hearing about other thriving companies keeping it in the family. This week, we chat to Alexie Azoulay of Azoulay Interiors, a mother and daughter from Paris running their design business based in London.
Alexie’s mother, Dominique, studied architecture at the prestigious Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris and has been an architect and an interior designer for almost 30 years. After starting to work together a few years ago, Alexie and Dominique now work on projects across the UK, France and Russia.
We chat to Alexie about the signature Azoulay Interiors look, her three most treasured possessions and the design classics she really rates.
Is there a signature Azoulay Interiors look? If so, how would you describe it?
We love mixing contemporary, vintage and antique pieces, but most importantly we try to give each project its own unique character, which is usually the result of the mix between the client, the building and its surroundings and the existing features – we find it crucial to avoid the “showroom-look” style.
We have done very different projects, from a traditional country house in England, to a contemporary house by the sea in Brittany, to a Haussmannian flat in Paris.
We very often source old and reclaimed French doors and shutters, which are then used in a more contemporary setting. We do have a particular fondness for cement tiles and zelliges, which are used in many of our projects. They are not the easiest material to work with, so it is important to work with people who understand them, but they will instantly give a really nice and lived in look, and they work really well in so many different contexts. Our latest crush is tiles made from terrazzo, which we are using on our next project!
In terms of furniture, what design classics standout for you?
One of our favourite design classic pieces, is the Office Chair made by Pierre Jeanneret in a collaboration with Le Corbusier for university offices in Chandigarh, India.
For more contemporary pieces, we love designs by Paola Navone, such as the Gray Table designed for Gervasoni. It was inspired by quite a traditional farm table but interpreted in a contemporary way. Finally the Flag Chair by Hans Wegner is also amongst our favourite design classics.
What would be your top interior design tip for our readers?
Oh there are so many! To make sure the overall style of the house and items used are in harmony with the style of the building. The features you cannot change in a room or a house should be the guiding thread of the project and should be used in the most advantageous way possible.
It is always a good idea to use a few vintage and antique pieces to a project to remove the “new and shiny” look and finally to use mirrors, ideally facing windows and not walls, to add light and depth to rooms.
What does home mean to you?
We are very interested in Feng Shui, especially the practical concepts applied to interiors, as they are very logical and based on common sense.
Home is a place which should make you feel peaceful and settled as soon as you come in, where you want to sit down and spend time, where everything flows nicely. I would say that is the best way to describe Feng Shui and what you can achieve by using some of its principles.
What are your three most treasured pieces?
Our three most treasured pieces are a sculpture made by a friend, of a man walking on a giant wheel, our globes collection from the 19th century and finally 10 original Basket Chairs from Gian Franco Legler, which my mother bought over 15 years ago in Germany.
A perfect Sunday is…
A perfect Sunday is being back home in Paris and walking around St Germain or Le Marais on a sunny day, with Andrew, my fiancé and Watson, our Beagle.
If you could choose one piece from Layer, what would it be and where would it live?
I have a soft spot for velvet, and I absolutely love the Milo Baughman lounge chairs. They would definitely live in my living room!
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