White in a room is like lipstick in a face


PARIS: When I enter a room designed by the interior designer Sarah Lavoine I feel like being at a place that is properly dressed.

The room is perfect in all aspects, in terms of colour, decoration, mix of furniture, art and lights. You felt comfortable but not bored and I got curious how Sarah achieved that feeling.

She was born in Poland and is married to the French singer Marc Lavoine. First she studied philosophy and communication before getting into interior design, but actually isn’t that what interior design is all about?

After our conversation I felt like getting a few things changed in my apartment.

IRMA: The white colour seems to be the base of all the interiors you create. Why?
Sarah Lavoine: White, for me, is purity. It is most luminous when opposed with either black or another very powerful colour, a bit like the way lipstick highlights the complexion. I have always been a big fan of monochrome interiors. Black & white are my favourite colours.

IRMA: Which cultures inspire you most?
SL: So many! I am inspired constantly when I travel. I particularly love Morocco and Bali.

IRMA:  Which meaning does vintage furniture have to you when it comes to an interior?
SL: I have always liked to mixing periods in my interiors. My worst nightmare is the ‘total look’ when people decorate their entire house from top to bottom in one style… Having a mixture of contemporary and vintage items always feels much more authentic. I like things that have a story behind them.

IRMA: How do you like to use natural light coming into the room, is there a way you work with artificial light to make it all melt together?
SL: I like to rely on natural light as much as possible, and candles give off my all-time favourite kind of lighting. But of course sometimes we must opt for artificial light also – my tip is to always use warm white (2.700 to 3.300K) light bulbs which give off a soft light that is very similar to candlelight.

IRMA: How do you accessorize a room, if you do?
SL: Candles, first of all, are my favourite kind of accessory! I have an obsession – big ones, small ones, scented or not. Can never have enough!

IRMA: Where do you look for inspiration?
SL: Travel, art, museums… everywhere I look.

IRMA: How do create a warm atmosphere in a room?
SL: Candles (again), art, pictures on the walls… There is nothing more depressing than a blank wall.

IRMA: What are your favourite interior addresses in Paris, besides your places?
SL: The CFOC, Gallery Kamel Mennour (for art), the Conran Shop, BHV, Gallery Kreo for amazing vintage design pieces – and of course eBay!