Design Notes Archive

Jean-Louis Deniot

Jean-Louis Deniot

“Greige” is a term often used in the design community to describe the popular combination of grey and beige favoured by a slew of notable designers. It’s subtle and sophisticated with the ability to skew modern or traditional – or to embrace both as French designer Jean-Louis Deniot so eloquently demonstrates. With a voracious appetite for the history of art and architecture, even his most contemporary interiors are accented with nods to antiquity.

Deniot, who earned his stripes at Paris’ prestigious Ecole Camondo (counting Pierre Paulin, Jacques Grange and Philippe Starck among its graduates), has a penchant for mixing neoclassical references with 20th century design. Coming from such a learned background, he often makes decisions rooted in history, be it a pair of centuries old antique sconces or floor-to-ceiling tiles referencing the more recent past. These perfectly proportioned stripes are precisely spaced (8.7cm) en hommage to conceptual artist Daniel Buren. Who better to call upon than a man who’s spent the past 40 years working in stripes with an installation at the Louvre under his belt?

There are other design lessons to take away as well: Extending tile along the floor, wall AND ceiling for one. Mixing metals for another (gilded light fixtures are balanced with contemporary Dornbracht taps and fittings). And perhaps most importantly, Deniot clearly demonstrates that a greige palette need not play it safe.

Daniel Buren’s work can be seen in the permanent collections at London’s Tate Modern and Hampshire’s Southampton City Art Gallery.