I know a lot of people in the interior design industry. After all, I have been a designer for almost 25 years and have had the good fortune to meet and greet with just about everyone here in New York City. So, when I met my friend, Rob Geer, on the subway one day about a month ago and he told me he was now working at the Christian Liaigre store on the upper east side, I immediately
made a date to visit him there.
Well, needless to say, I wasn’t disappointed at all. Rob gave me and my associate, Daniel Vanhall, the royal tour of the space and we got to discuss many of the fabulous details integrated into Liaigre’s furnishings.
You might have forgotten, but over 17 years ago Liaigre designed the Mercer Hotel here in New York. That is where he first employed that now classical minimalist furniture look where everything is fashioned out of dark wenge wood, a look that has been mimicked ad infinitum by lesser companies. Yes, he is the man that started that whole movement. But there is no doubt that he is still the master at creating fabulous contemporary pieces in this genre, and then some.
Liaigre’s background is French and he spent many years in his youth living on a horse farm in the Vendee area of France, near the Atlantic Ocean. This country aesthetic is apparent in many of his designs, and you will see a fabulous photograph at the store of the rear view of a horse…yes, I said a rear view…that captures your attention the minute you walk past it…as well as a bronze saddle stand that is for sale. Other fabulous art at the store is a series of oversized photographs…not of horses… by a very talented photographer who’s name escapes me…so sorry, but call Rob at the store and he will hook you up!
I have previously purchased Liaigre’s furnishings for clients and have always admired how strong his design statements are despite being rather simple overall. He gets a lot of mileage out of using superior materials and impeccable execution. He frequently finished his woods with wire brushing which takes the look of the wood out of the ordinary and right onto the wonderful level. All of this adds up to a “sensual minimalism” which pervades Liaigre’s designs.
I also noticed that many of his pieces utilize bronze…très chic and unfortunately très expensive! However, every once in awhile one needs to splurge in order to raise the ante of the design in the room and one of Liaigre’s pieces is the right place to do it. Think: Future Collectibles!
The word is that Liaigre is very particular about the customization of his furnishings and will only permit this to happen when the integrity of the design is kept intact. I sort of appreciate that attitude. The furniture is made both in the United States and in France, depending on where the proper craftsmen for the individual pieces exist. Everything in the showroom looks pristine and wonderful and you feel like buying everything!
I came across this quote from Liaigre in a Wall Street Journal article from a few years back, which I found very interesting considering the pure style of furniture he is most noted for:
“My favorite period of design is the 18th century,…the 18th century was the time when there was the most creation in jewelry, furniture, metal hardware—everything was modern. Versailles was the force—the motor. I find it amazing that they could do so much baroque and yet keep it coherent…I feel it’s coming back into fashion.”
Keep your eyes out for Liaigre’s take on all of this in the future! In the mean time, check out Liagre in New York City and get your dezign juices flowing. Oh, and don’t forget to ask for Rob!
Ciao, ciao ’til next time!