If there is one thing Elliott Barnes does not stand for it is clearly this: one-sidedness. Hence, it comes of no surprise that as a designer he has a professional background that covers almost every aspect of shaping living environments. With a Bachelor's and Master's degree from Cornell University Elliott Barnes started his career in architecture and urban design, before he became a furniture and interior designer. In 2004 the American, who lives in Paris, founded ELLIOTT BARNES INERIORS, (ebi) focusing on high end projects such as residences, boutiques, hotels, spas, and institutional spaces. For our «Carte Blanche» Elliott Barnes chose a luxurious private apartment, located near Place Vendôme. We have met him to talk about the experience.
I thought it would be interesting to show these contemporary fabrics in a traditional Parisian atmosphere, which is not my typical style, usually I focus on contemporary settings. I had never worked with a textile manufacturer in this way before. So, I positioned myself as a conductor of an orchestra being told: Here is the music, now you organize it and make the show—a very interesting approach.
With SILK & SPICES there is a lot to choose from. The real challenge was to find within the collection the fabrics that work together very well, either in contrast or in coherence. We cross-referenced fabrics that I think Sibylle (Aeberhard, textile designer for the SILK & SPICES collection, editor’s note) probably did not imagine could live together.
The trend I see right now is this: taking the edge of the technicality and giving textiles a very natural look. SILK & SPICES is exactly addressing this issue.
I furnished this apartment ten years ago. It’s interesting to come back and see what I did. I feel much more comfortable now with what I did back then. Today my visual identity is quite established, which means that I’m able to also experiment a lot more.
The wide range of fabrics is what I like most about it, from the seemingly very technical window sheers all the way to classical velvet type fabrics. I also like RAMIN a lot, a new silk fabric with a slight texture and an interesting changing effect. With this collection, there is an incredibly large amount of possibilities.
SILK & SPICES is very oriented around the home. That’s one of the things I like about it.
Création Baumann is able to give rather technical fabrics a softer edge—and that is very hard to achieve. They are very good at addressing the technical issues, while adding a unique aesthetic to the fabrics at the same time. Seemingly, there are no limitations to what Création Baumann can do.
It is always 100% an Elliott Barnes creation, but it is an Elliott Barnes creation for someone. At the end of the day, when someone walks into the apartment, it should reflect the person that lives there, not me.
There is no difference. Doing projects, I get excited all the time. To me, the project itself and the people I work with are what’s exciting. Right now, I am working on an apartment in Bangkok on the 67th and 68 floor of an incredibly modern skyscraper building and at the same time I am developing the interiors of a typical Haussmannian Parisian apartment on the 2nd floor. I like designing them both at the same time.
It allows me to be many things at once. I’m able to look at things from a creative, technical, sociological and psychological point of view. It’s almost like having the chance to be a renaissance man. I don’t like being one sided.
On the one hand, today a lot of people seem to be preoccupied with luxury. That is probably because the times are hard and people need a place to escape to. It would be good if the discourse would also address where luxury came from and what its function really is.
The textile industry is very creative. The trend I see right now is this: taking the edge of the technicality and giving textiles a very natural look. SILK & SPICES is exactly addressing this issue.
With this collection, there is an incredibly large amount of possibilities.
Both are important. Timelessness, because as humans with an ego we like to stay around. Zeitgeist on the other hand keeps us moving forward. It is an energy that makes us do things, but everyone is looking for timelessness.
I live in a very nomadic way. Currently I stay in a hotel suite that is connected to my office. I like to reduce the space between my work and my personal life. I like simple spaces and objects and I need room for art and books. And a fireplace is important.
Selected by the magazine Architectural Digest France as one of the most talented interior designers of his generation, Elliott Barnes, creates and builds exceptional spaces for his clients. After his work as an architect and urban designer as well as an academic career teaching in renowned universities in the United States and at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris (ENSAD), he founded his own office in order to express his own pure and eclectic vision. Reception halls for La Maison de Champagne Ruinart in Reims, The Ritz Carlton in Wolfsburg and the mythic jazz club Duc des Lombards in Paris are only a few of the works from elliott barnes interiors (EBI).
About Carte Blanche
«Carte Blanche» is Création Baumann’s invitation to select interior designers for interpreting a collection in a location of their choice in their own style—showcasing the range of possibilities for textile room design using fabrics from this traditional Swiss company.
Artistic Direction: Elliott Barnes, Paris
Design: Aurélie Prost, Paris
Project management: Victoire Blocman, Paris
Styling: Sergio da Silva, Paris
Photography: Didier Delmas, Paris
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