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Classic with a twist

The Invisible Collection presents a selection of exclusive furniture by renowned architect Charles Zana, on view in its Belgravia showroom. We could not miss this opportunity to ask him a few questions...

Architect, designer, interior designer, collector and art connoisseur. For more than 20 years Charles Zana has deployed his cultivated eye and refined taste to create the most sublime interiors, all mesmerizing spaces, elegant and warm, imbued with a unique atmosphere. His signature style, luxurious yet rigorous, has earned him the abiding admiration of international clients, who call upon him to redesign their properties, whether they be a stately apartment in Paris, a Venetian palazzo, a five-star hotel in St Barth, or a boutique in Monte Carlo.

 

A great admirer of Italian design, Charles Zana possesses a stunning collection of Ettore Sottsass’ sculptures, enamels and ceramics, which he will show at Phillips London, in the exhibition Fragile, curated by him and his friend collector Fulvio Ferrari.

 

We are proud to present a selection of Zana’s designs in The Invisible Collection’s showroom and we asked him to introduce us to his work:

 

Tell us about the pieces of furniture on view:

I’ll start with the Alexandra sofa, a very feminine piece, all rounded shapes, which can be redesigned according to the space requirements of a given room. When decorating a living room, one can easily be tempted into putting together two sofas and some armchairs, but I wanted something different and took up this idea from the 70s of a large sofa that becomes almost a statutory element, the true central piece in the room: this is what I call an architectural statement. This sofa is upholstered in mohair velvet, I love this fabric: it’s the velvet that Jean Royère used, magnificent!

 

What are the other pieces?

The Calanque coffee table in bronze, which is a tribute to the creeks (calanques in French) of Marseille, the top elements are superimposed like the larger pebbles in the water. The DM lamp, which I designed for David Mallett’s New York salon, and the Nomad stools that I created for an exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs: Originally, they were made of marble, so not very… nomadic (laughs), but there is also the wooden version, which is lighter.

 

It is often said about your work that you revive the French Spirit. What is the French Spirit? 

I would say that it is a good understanding of the classic with a modern twist. Let me give you an example, cuisine: A great French chef is a chef who knows how to make a classic dish perfectly, but he also knows how to revisit it and cook it differently… I think that chefs and interior decorators have more or less the same approach.

 

What is your twist?

The use of color. And sometimes the choice of materials. Also, the way I mix contemporary design within a more ancient décor, while keeping a certain balance and respecting the elements from the past.

 

People say you are like a scenographer: who is the subject at the center of the sets you design?

My clients, always my clients. I draw from their history to create a place that befits them and becomes them. I design the scenography of a family, and I hope they will be happy in their home.

 

What do you like about The Invisible Collection?

Their selection of pieces, and their approach to a new, more digital way to have a luxury boutique, and to represent artisanship and architects from different backgrounds on the same platform.

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