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    Elliott Barnes

    Elliott Barnes

    Photo: Julien Drach

    Elliott Barnes graduated from Cornell University in New York State in 1985 with a Masters in Architecture and Urban Planning. In 1986 the AIA registered architect began his career with Arthur Erickson Architects in Los Angeles and at the same time pursued an academic career teaching at renowned universities in the United States and at ENSAD (National School of Decorative Arts) in Paris.

    In 1987, he joined the office of the renowned designer Andrée Putman, who in 1997 handed over the management of her firm to him; a position he occupied until 2003. In 2004 Barnes created his own design firm in Paris. His aesthetic talents meant that he was immediately sought-after for high-end design projects, including private residential properties, retail and institutional spaces, hotels, and spa installations in France and abroad. The Elliott Barnes style resides in his elegant handling of light and use of both unusual and noble materials which invest unique, exclusive spaces with an innovative approach to luxury.

    Elliott Barnes has been awarded by the Centre du Luxe et de la Création as winner of the Talent of Elegance 2023.

    1. How did you begin designing interiors ?

    I started in architecture. When I moved to Paris to work with Andrée Putman I began my interior design career.

    2. Has there been a defining moment in your career ?

    The defining moment in my life was the move to France. That set the stage for my years working next to Andrée Putman. In terms of my artisanal approach to materials my work for Ruinart designing the reception areas in their original headquarters and site which dates back to 1729 has had a tremendous influence on the direction of my work.

    3. What is your favorite type of client/project ?

    I don’t really have a favorite type of client or project. I have never done a retail project really, so that would be interesting to explore.

    4. What do you think is the deciding factor in a successful interior design project ?

    For me the deciding factor is the client. The client sets the tone of a project and really gives it rhythm.

    5. What is the most challenging aspect of your work ?

    I think the most challenging aspect is the lighting. It is such a critical moment in a project, and it must be thought of correctly from the start and handled carefully until the final fit out.

    6. How would you describe your creative process and its influences ? How do you get inspired ?

    I usually start by searching for the invisible or small details or qualities that make something what it is. I also attach a tremendous amount of importance to how something works. I always imagine how I might move through the space, and how I may bring a different “regard” to something.

    7. What advice would you give beginner designers ?

    Get off the computer and the devices and draw my hand. Go out and see nice built works from all periods and learn to trust your eyes.

    Photo: Elodie Dupuis
    Photo: Steven Paneccasio

    8. What would be the ideal place to design for you?

    I would love to design a living center which would house a library, a gallery, my office, and my living space.

    9. Could you describe a typical day of your work?

    The typical day starts at 8:30. After each day is totally different. I am very happy about that.

    10. How do you choose the specific materials you work with?

    The project defines the materials. The project asks me questions.

    11. What artists/creatives have influenced you?

    The list is long and varied. It includes Michelangelo, Miles Davis, Le Corbusier, Mies Van der Rohe, David Hammons, James Turrell, Martin Margiela, Virgil Abloh, Ron Carter, The Cubists, Basquiat.

    12. What contemporary designers do you appreciate?

    Bruno Moinard, Raphael Cardenas, Vincenzo Decotis, Vincent Van Duysen, David Adjaye.

    13. If you had to summarize your creations in one word or sentence, what would it be?

    Crafting textured minimalist forms and surfaces, that allow me to design the absence of presence.

    14. Do you have any books/programs/podcasts to recommend to our readers?

    Read IN PRAISE OF SHADOWS by Junichiro Tanizaki.

    Photo: Elodie Dupuis
    Photo: Deidi VonSchaewen

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