When talking about interior design, Charlotte Biltgen wears her heart on her sleeve, conversing passionately about her love for beautiful decors. She shies away from accepting compliments though, being more interested into drawing one’s attention to the wondrous harmony that permeates any of the unique settings she designed. Her work, defined by rounded shapes and vibrant colors, plays with the juxtaposition of unexpected hues and contrasting materials.
Longtime artistic director at India Mahdavi’s agency, Charlotte Biltgen opened her own studio in 2015, devoting herself to more personal projects, in line with her original vision best expressed in timeless designs and elegant details. Strongly anchored to the great tradition of French ensembliers (creating coherent sets with a recognizable aesthetic), she taps into that ever so undefinible “Parisian chic” that, she claims, is rooted in her DNA.
The Invisible Collection presents a fine selection of pieces that Charlotte designed for three very different projects, each one with its own distinct style:
For each new project, you create a new collection:
I like to first picture the place in my mind and imagine the atmosphere I want to create. Once this image is set, I can visualize the shapes, the materials, the colors, the fabrics… If you allow me this “photography” metaphor: once I’m happy with the angle and the framing, I can finally get to actually design the setting and the furniture. So, yes, for each project, I create a new collection.
Let’s start with the Marceau Collection:
This is a residential project in Paris: I redecorated a vast haussmannian apartment and designed all the furniture. There are many pieces, including the Twin series – a console, a cupboard and a mirror– and the Eileen sofa and table, both named after Eileen Gray and the modernist movement of the 30s. For this collection, I wanted some very classic and elegant lines, with a special attention to details: I imagined timeless pieces that one would want to keep for a long time, like some friendly furniture that stays with you. The subtle elegance draws on the curved shapes – an expression of softness and femininity – and on the choice of materials that sublimate the simple lines adding sophistication, texture and contrast. The light touches of brass, inserted like a jewel, in small strokes, bring out a brilliant effect, like a burst of light within the material.
The Riviera Collection is a total change of scenery!
Yes, we are in the South of France and its sunny beaches. This collection is a nod to the spirit of the “French Riviera” in the 20s: I was inspired by the mix of relaxed attitude and creativity found on the shores of the Mediterranean. I loved mixing materials, especially rattan – a nod to the vintage wickerwork of the 50s – with the more sophisticated and vibrant straw marquetry, which reflects the sunlight and gives the space a sunny vacation feel. I also wanted to work on some organic shapes, specifically that of a clover and of a large snake, thus bringing a bucolic lightness to the project. The Riviera table, for instance, with its marble wing-like top, set on a solid oak clover-shaped foot, becomes a sign of good luck for the house. For the Serpentine sofa, I wanted to create a piece of furniture that seems to be undulating in room, from which to look at both the interior and the exterior -in this specific case a breathtaking view over the sea. Its shape, very versatile, can fit any space.
Last but not least: the Klay Collection and yet a completely new atmosphere:
Yes, the Klay Club is the one of the coolest fitness centers in Paris; I designed the furniture and the decoration of its restaurant and terrace. Among others, I designed the Klay armchair: I wanted to revisit the spirit of the club chair -small, cozy and functional- adding a touch of modernity. Once I set its comfortable embracing fit, I created a whole series of seats, the armchair, the sofa, the sofa bed, and the bench. The velvet fabric brings out some beautiful reflections, the light vibrates on the curved upholstery; as for the rounded shape – my signature style- it expresses softness and femininity.
Can you sum up your work in a few words?
I like natural materials and vibrant colors; I like subtle elegance, and understated luxury. I express myself through rounded shapes and curves, which, in my view, are a subtle homage to femininity. While working with India Mahdavi I really developed an eye for shapes and a taste for pop colors, playful and warm; but I also learnt about the potential of juxtaposed materials: it’s so interesting to underline the contrasts and seek the hidden likeness: It’s so inspiring! I love the freedom of embarking on a project by myself, building a true relationship with the client, understanding one’s wishes, and then design a tailor-made decor, a real home.
What do you like about The Invisible Collection?
I love the idea of unearthing a project’s hidden treasures, to seek out all those custom-designed pieces of furniture that one would not see otherwise. Personally, I find it frustrating that an object I created and love, is destined to remain relatively “invisible”: The Invisible Collection is a brilliant new way to discover a beautiful piece, and give it another life.
Please leave us your question and contact details, and we will get back to you very soon.