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    Robert Couturier

    Robert Couturier

    Photography: Peter Ross

    I was born in Paris and raised there by my grandmother, came to NY growing up studied at École Camondo came and settled in NY in 1981. I worked for Adam Tihany who had then designed Xenon the night club the restaurant La Coupole and many other places like that. Learned everything with him. In 1982 I landed my first big commission for Sir James Goldsmith with his private townhouse in NY. I then switched to residential work, split with Adam, and opened my own company in 1987. I went on to design all of Sir James Goldsmith’s properties in Mexico and France, all immensely large commissions I have been working ever since all over the world, the U.K., France, Germany, Switzerland, Russia, Azerbaijan, Israel, Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil, Turks, and Caicos… and in many different places in the US.

    1. How did you begin designing interiors ?

    I have always been fascinated by houses architecturally and decoratively and I have always been studying all various styles from all places in the world, it became natural to go on studying architecture and interior design. I started working in the late 70’s for friends in Paris and it became quite clear that working in the US was a very logical move.

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

    There have been collections of moments but not one single one that defined my career. I have always approached design and decoration in quite a scholarly fashion and probably somewhat too intellectually.

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

    My favorite type of clients are those I love and who have very definite ideas about the way they want to live and what they choose to surround themselves with. There is nothing I hate more than carte blanche because nobody is that indifferent to their surroundings.

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

    The depth of trust and collaboration between clients and designers. Nothing happens in a void and the client is the inspiration!

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

    Pragmatic and managing of the projects; somebody said to a famous designer one day:
    “But you have such a fascinating creative job!”

    To which the designer answered:
    “Pleasure and creation are 5% of the job the other 95 % are solving problems…”

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

    Everything inspires me , I have a huge memory and of course a very visual one so I can go through the files in my brain and retrieve information and images stored for ever in the recesses of my mind. That is the dreaming part or the instant recall sometime. And then I put things in order but/and always the client is the inspiration. We don’t work in a vacuum we work for people!

    7. What advice would you give beginner designers ?

    Forget everything creative you have learned at school it’s completely pointless and only remember the boring lessons; like mathematics, geometry and organization; that’s what you’ll need on a daily basis!

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

    There is no ideal place it is all dependent on how I feel at that particular moment it can be at home in the office on a plane in a car… doesn’t matter to me.

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

    Not sure there is any typical day at work… there is always an element of surprise on any one day.

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

    Again it depends on absolutely everything; the particulars of each job dictate what I am going to use.

    11. What artists/creatives have influenced you ?

    I have been tremendously influenced by the 17th and 18th Centuries in all aspects artistically intellectually and architecturally and yet I am not a clacissist per say. I love contemporary architecture and art, and use it in my work. I am influenced by the times we live in and everything that I have seen and experienced.

    12. What contemporary designers do you appreciate ?

    Too many to name!

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

    Fantasy, humor and rigor.

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

    You have to be a voracious reader in our business. One should not limit oneself to any one thing!

    Comments

    • Robert Charles Montano

      M. Courturier is one of the most talented and well-respected designers living today!

      reply
    • Mona de Sayve

      Great interview
      Bravissimo

      reply
    • Talent, intellect, humor, and passion… 4 words that come to mind immediately when I think of Robert. Having had the honor to work in several of his client homes, keeps us on our toes to assure the quality of our ephemeral creations live up to the standard he has set. Robert’s work is a constant source of inspiration. LOVE the article

      reply

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