In the heart of Paris’ prestigious 1st Arrondissement lies Pierre Frey’s historic residence located above his family’s textile firm. The 17th-century edifice is situated minutes away from some of the City of Light’s iconic landmarks such as the Louvre, Palais Garnier and Jardin des Tuileries. It is in this very building where Pierre’s grandfather and namesake, Pierre Frey senior, established the French furniture house in 1935. What began as a 20-square metre office space nearly 82 years ago progressively expanded over the years until his grandfather acquired the entire building during the 1970s. The firm specialises in designing and manufacturing upholstered fabrics, wallpapers, carpets and furniture – often taking inspiration from exotic far-way lands, 18th-century France and contemporary art. The design house remains a family affair. Pierre’s father, Patrick has taken the reigns as president and creative director, while Pierre, who is the eldest of three brothers, oversees the firm’s public relations and communications, his brother Vincent is the CEO and his youngest brother Matthieu, manages the firm’s Far East operations from Singapore.
“I was lucky enough to move here several years ago,” Pierre says on the acquisition of his residence which is conveniently situated on the top floor of his family firm’s headquarters. Pierre enlisted the expertise of his friend and architect Marika Dru to convert the historic loft into a contemporary space. “I really liked her taste, it’s very minimalistic,” Pierre reflects. “It’s definitely a classic space with a very contemporary twist given by the architect.” Pierre took it upon himself to design the loft’s eclectic interior décor, mixing an array of patterns, colours and textures from his family’s signature textiles with a range of objets d’art acquired from flea markets and antique dealers in Marché aux Puces in Paris as well as from his extensive travels across the world.
Today, the design firm’s signature savoir faire is manifested with a mélange of vintage finds throughout Pierre’s two-bedroom loft which features an open-plan living room. In a cosy corner on the ground floor, an upholstered multi-coloured linen loveseat offers an inviting haven to while away the days. Situated behind the loveseat is a stack of crimson shelves that Pierre affectionately refers to as his cabinet de curiosités. African tribal masks and adornments are placed alongside an array of tomes and monographs covering topics ranging from fashion and photography to art and interior design. Pierre insists the books are not just for display. “I read them more than I thought I would,” he muses. “I guess it’s because of the loveseat that attracts me to read them.” Elsewhere, in the expansive living room, armchairs offer pops of colour with the textile firm’s circular swirl print on linen fabric, Mil Neuf Cent Vingt, which draws inspiration from a 1920s painting by the French artist Léon Texier. A tribal Native American headpiece, gifted by Pierre’s father Patrick, hangs in the living room – adding an exotic twist to the contemporary space.
The loft’s open-plan living room connects to the kitchen and takes inspiration from Parisian bakeries. “I’ve always liked the old type of bakeries with white marble,” Pierre says as he points towards the white Carrara marble table which anchors the kitchen. Red and white striped cushions placed on vintage Italian benches, sourced from a flea market in Paris, add traditional touches to the space. “I wanted to give it a twist and make it more modern,” he says. “So I asked the architect to make it a bit more contemporary.” The space was fitted with sleek and minimalistic kitchen fittings while the sculptured silhouette of a pendant lamp designed by Constance Guisset for the boutique Parisian design firm Petite Friture, offers a contemporary edge to the space.
The industrial iron staircase leads towards the loft’s mezzanine. Photography by Jon Day
An industrial iron staircase leads to the loft’s mezzanine, where Pierre’s wife Emilie works in her home office as a scriptwriter and film director. “A friend of a friend was doing construction in her apartment and she was getting rid of the staircase,” Pierre recalls. “I heard about it and I bought it from her – she was tossing it. I got really lucky and it worked out to be the perfect size for our flat.” The exotic motifs of banana and coconut trees from Pierre Frey’s subsidiary design brand, Boussac, lines the walls of Emilie’s office, while portraits of icons such as Serge Gainsbourg and Bob Dylan are displayed for inspiration.
The master bedroom is the space which Pierre considers his favourite. The bed is draped in the firm’s Dolino linen fabric, while the wallpaper’s jacquard design conveys subtle geometric motifs. Pierre reflects on the wallpaper’s soft tones, which offer a calm ambiance throughout the room, “it gives such a cocoon aspect to the bedroom.” His grandfather’s legacy lives on through the Frey signature textiles that permeate Pierre junior’s abode.
For more information visit pierrefrey.com