In conversation with … designer Stephanie Coutas
1. Where do you go to get inspiration for your projects?
My inspiration can come from looking at Mother Nature or from the motif of an ancient silk sari, or a cabinet design from the 1940s. I like my time; each year is a new beginning full of promises and new projects. If I have to give a period of time I would have enjoyed and drawn inspiration from, it would be the 1930s and 1940s, a time in which beautiful pieces of furniture were created and a period during which our job of “décorateur-ensemblier” was at its best.
Inspiration is everywhere; this is why creating and designing is so rewarding.
2. What are some elements that can make a house into a home?
I love fabrics: this is an essential aspect of making a cozy home. I work a lot with velvets and leathers.
The touch of a texture is as important as it looks. Velvet can be combined with metal threads, embossed… So many options are possible. I also like to decline one colour background in a full range of versions…One colour can be five different fabrics…
3. What is your best memory of elegance or coziness?
My home has a cozy feeling, and everybody is happy inside. Positive, good vibes are everywhere.
4. What is your signature piece of your brand?
The Mini Cambium is our most iconic piece! It adds a pop of luxury to any design scheme in a sophisticated and elegant way.
5. Where did you grow up? What influenced you to enter this field and follow this profession?
I was raised in Vietnam and spent my first seven years in a big, open house with a lovely garden… Some of my greatest memories from my childhood include running around so freely, lots of dinner parties with guests walking inside the living room, and outside in the garden, a very hot and humid atmosphere, all open toward the outside. Walking around barefoot and riding horses were my main hobbies at the time. When we moved to Hong Kong, I moved into a flat overlooking the sea…A different kind of Asia, but a wonderful discovery of “city life”.
I was a fashion designer, and, while designing clothes is great, what you create lasts only for one season. I always enjoyed designing the interior of homes, for myself or friends and one day decided to do it in a professional way. I feel as though it’s the best job ever. Designing a house means creating an atmosphere where human beings will feel good, cozy and be proud of. It is, in a way, a reflection of the owner’s personality. That is why it is such a challenge every time.
6. What is your definition of success?
My first project where I was given free reign, a 400-square-metre apartment in Paris. I will always remember my clients walking in after 12 months of hectic work and saying; “This is 10 times better than we ever imagined.” It is for moments like this that I work so hard… My best reward is seeing a smile on my customer’s face when we are finished.
7. What is the best compliment you have ever received?
I know this is similar to the answer above, but truly, my clients’ satisfaction and happiness is the greatest compliment.
8. What is your definition of La Dolce Vita (the sweet life)?
Spending time with my children, travelling around the world, and learning about other cultures.
Interview by Michelle Zerillo-Sosa
If you enjoyed this piece, you will enjoy the full story in our upcoming Dolce winter edition.