Celebrating Global Design

Celebrating Global Design: France

by Erin Austen Abbott

Celebrating Global Design in France on Design*Sponge

As we finish up our trek around the world in our Celebrating Global Design series, today we’re visiting France. While the air of romance and old world charm is always present in French design and interiors, the country as a whole has begun to take a modern twist to their aesthetics and approach to design. With bold colors, flavors and lines, France is at the forefront of global influence. Like the cool, older sister that you wish you could be like, France continues to influence everything from music to food to interiors and even the gardens that we plant. We’ve seen chefs popping up with innovative dishes, artists that are lifting one another up to perfect their crafts, and architects that are able to see past the walls that were built hundreds of years prior and create a new take within those limits while holding onto the old charm. France is a little less than the size of two Colorados, yet it packs a punch, needless to say.

I’ve rounded up some past home tours that are both classic, yet forward thinking, in terms of use of color, use of space, and aesthetics — mixed with some local love from those on the ground, helping to keep France moving forward. —Erin

Celebrating Global Design in France on Design*Sponge

“I have lived in Paris for the last 20 years, never far from hip and vibrant neighborhoods like Rue Montorgueil or Canal Saint Martin. At the moment, my home is a 120-year-old apartment with gorgeous exposed wooden beams in the hip 10th arrondissement, a short walk from Canal Saint Martin, where I opened my first Jamini boutique. Buzzing with creative projects of all sorts — bars, restaurants, art galleries, gorgeous florists, vintage stores and a cafe-cum-bicycle-repair-spot next door — this neighborhood is a melting pot of designers, architects, comedians, artists, and restaurateurs. On a five-minute walk across the street to pick up bread from cult bakery, Du Pain et Des Idées, I catch conversations in Japanese, Swedish, Tamil, and Turkish. I can walk to the opera or to lovely Buttes Chaumont park in fifteen minutes. This is a neighborhood where you see kids playing on Passage des Petites Ecuries, a tree-lined pedestrian street, and in lovely Marché Saint Martin, scenes that remind me of New York’s West Village. The 10th arrondissement is lucky to have some wonderful restaurants like Les Résistants on Rue du Château d’Eau & Le Verre Volé on the Canal Saint Martin.

Celebrating Global Design in France on Design*Sponge

Nestled between two bold wallpapered walls is this original 100+ year old fireplace with ornate detail in this Paris, France apartment.

Celebrating Global Design in France on Design*Sponge

“As most Parisian creatives, I’m obviously inspired by the exciting cultural life, museums, and monuments. But on a day-to-day basis, living and working outside touristic areas, I’m rather influenced by popular and cosmopolitan places, and by people I meet in the street or in public transport, especially women, as they are a big inspiration in my work. I can be attracted by a sense of style, a face, a positive energy. Unlike the “Parisian style” stereotype may claim, women here are way more diverse,” shared Marjorie of Cococerise.

Celebrating Global Design in France on Design*Sponge

From a vintage camper, Ruth Ribeaucourt, jewelry maker and vintage dealer, has set up an atelier inside. Now Ruth brings her goods to her customers throughout France, rather than having them make the trek to her.




Celebrating Global Design in France on Design*Sponge

This Parisian apartment overlooks the 10th arrondissement in Paris, France. It belongs to Marie Lacote and is full of bold design.

Celebrating Global Design in France on Design*Sponge

“Nantes is the perfect city in the west of France that combines nature with art culture; strong proposals in cultural event[s] like “The Machines of the Island” or the Festival of “the Voyage in Nantes” which mixes contemporary art and urban planning. You can also stroll along the Loire River (river running through the city) and have a drink in Trentemoult, an old fishing village. Just perfect,” shares artist Ambre Hervo.

Celebrating Global Design in France on Design*Sponge

“What I like the most about my country is the sense of rebellion we have [had] since forever. It is often seen as if everyone is always complaining about anything, but I see it as a way of wanting things to evolve, things to change. I think it is why we have tons of entrepreneurs, the French touch in music, and a lot of great design stuff. Every week I meet a new person who wants to build a new brand, to quit their job, to try new things, to travel. It is so inspiring, it feels like anything is possible. In the ceramic field, I was so thrilled to discover that it is a very open world, everyone was very welcoming, answering my questions, showing me their tips, enthusiastic about discussing. Sometimes, I have to admit that I feel like I live in the heart of the world,” expressed Samantha Kerdine.

Celebrating Global Design in France on Design*Sponge

We will always love a home covered in vines. It’s such a great look and one that comes to mind when we think of French design.

Celebrating Global Design in France on Design*Sponge

Mixing modern touches with original features is part of the charm of this house outside of Paris.

Celebrating Global Design in France on Design*Sponge

“I often travel to open my mind and discover new, inspiring places. But every time I come back where my heart belongs: in France. I feel like where I live we can express ourselves through our art very easily, and even more on social medias. You don’t have to travel far away to feel inspired, because every place is unique and different depending where […] you live. And this is probably the reason why art here is so different and free,” illustrator Louisa Schwartz shares.

Celebrating Global Design in France on Design*Sponge

Stunning turn-of-the-century floors, mixed with a modern, mid-century hand-me-down family table, completes this look and part of the forward thinking design that France is known for.

Celebrating Global Design in France on Design*Sponge

In Lyon, a charming old world apartment is steps from shops, restaurants, and all the city life Lyon has to offer.

Celebrating Global Design in France on Design*Sponge

“Paris is a great city for someone working in design for the obvious reason of being surrounded by beauty and inspiration at every turn. However, Paris is also a cultural and resource hub for someone working in design. Everything you need such as manufacturers, factories, suppliers, artisans, etc… to help you execute your vision at some point will either pass through Paris or is a quick train or plane ride away,” shares vintage dealer and stylist, Ajiri Aki.

Celebrating Global Design in France on Design*Sponge

Adding in a Moroccan look into the traditional French aesthetic, this home tour is full of vibrant colors and patterns, located in Nîmes, France.

Celebrating Global Design in France on Design*Sponge

This Parisian apartment has a Scandinavian twist, but this porch speaks all French to us. It’s charming, inviting and modern, and keeps up the global design aesthetic.

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