During Salone del Mobile 2017, a flurry of Instagram posts propelled designer Marc Ange’s sheltered daybed, Le Refuge, boldly rendered in pink, to fame. Springing from a wood base, his fabricated palm trees sheltered an inviting retreat with their deftly layered leaves. “My universe is made up of Los Angeles's influence on my European cultural structure,” says Ange who praises Italy—the land of his birth—for “its lyricism, majesty, pride, and decadence” and France—the country where he was raised—for “its perfectionism, depth, and melancholy.” He now lives in L.A., where, he says, his visual imagination is inspired by the light and contrasts.
In 2008, with the decision to expand from the luxury car design arena, Ange founded studio Bloom Room, which now has outposts in Los Angeles and Paris; a client list that includes the likes of Louis Vuitton, Nina Ricci, Ferrari, Prada, and Zadig & Voltaire; and projects including private homes and Dar Simons, a restaurant opening in September in Marrakech. Most recently, during Salone del Mobile 2019 in Palazzo Cusani, a historic 17th-century palace in Milan, Ange presented new furnishings in the exhibition “An Extraordinary World.” Interior Design sat down with the designer to learn more about his new pieces, how inspiration can come from a childhood fear of spiders, and where to find a spa retreat within a ghost town lost in the mountains.
Interior Design: Can you tell us a little about the new pieces you presented in “An Extraordinary World,” your exhibition in Milan this past April?
Marc Ange: Following my creative instincts, this collection naturally took the direction of a fantastic universe, bathed in memories of childhood, repressed fears, or forgotten dreams. I presented a new version of Le Refuge—the very first piece of my collection, which I launched in 2017. This piece—a sheltered bed called Le Refuge de la Nuit—is the expression of the memory of an emotion that I felt in my childhood when I imagined that a forest was growing in my room to protect me from the real world. I chose super foamy white fabric from the new collection of Dedar, which I love because it’s like a cloud. For the base I chose terrazzo tile because it’s something that is very old, with history, something Italian.
The Les Araignées upholstered seating collection of armchairs and now a sofa probably represents my buried fear of spiders, which was among the things that a refuge could protect me from.
Lampes Refuge is a floor lamp in aluminum—that’s very light and easy to use—with a marble base. For the marble, I chose a lot of different colors—yellow, some pinks, some greens, some grays, some brown. I went to these different caves north of Tuscany to choose the stone.
ID: What else have you recently completed recently?
MA: We have just finished three bottles of perfumes, for three big luxury brands, each very different from the others. This type of project is very interesting because these small glass objects must represent a complete universe. Every detail of these bottles tells a story—precise, chiseled—which must touch a certain part of the collective unconscious, and stage the brand without betraying its context and its history. These are difficult and exciting exercises.
ID: What’s upcoming for you?
MA: For an Italian luxury brand, I am preparing a residential furniture collection with a very strong identity, which will launch during Design Miami in December. It will be a kind of romantic and modernist bestiary, carved in exceptional and precious materials. In addition, at Salone del Mobile 2020, I will present a new residential furniture collection, which will be a summation of all I have done so far.
ID: How do you believe your unique background in automobiles and fashion helps enable your vision?
MA: Having a varied background allowed me to understand the mysteries of creation. Indeed, the creative process, before the physical development, is the same—be it a car, a luxury product, a piece of furniture, or an interior. I also think that specialization ends up creating habits that cause creative paralysis. Touching different universes allows you to constantly recharge your batteries.
ID: In what kind of home do you live?
MA: My fiancé and I have only in the last few months moved into a rather old house with old-fashioned charm, surrounded by a tropical romanticism that I particularly like. The interior is quite spartan—we have little, because we always have the feeling of being there only in passing. However, there is one piece I can mention, a Brutalist desk, which I designed. It's made of three concrete blocks, and then on the top there’s a piece of very precious marble from Tuscany. The marble contrasts with the concrete, which is very raw and rough. It’s a piece only for me, not something I would want to present or sell.
ID: How do you think your childhood influenced your design thinking?
MA: My childhood was peculiar and troubled. I think now, with more hindsight, that provided a chance. I have kept an unfinished feeling that gives a lot of fantasy to my subconscious. I remember with great precision the way I saw things when I was a child, and today this reminds me of how a lack of certainty allows creative escape. My childhood leaves an indelible trace on my work that often changes color.
ID: Is there a person in the industry that you particularly admire?
MA: French designer Pierre Paulin's pieces are closest to my spirit. I love his Sofa C for the way it's so simple but at the same time so strong. It's a piece of design history, resonating completely with the 1970s.
ID: Do you have an Instagram account you follow?
MA: I do not spend much time on Instagram, I'm from the older generation...but I like the proud and rebellious, impertinent universe of Albanian-American creative director and entrepreneur Aureta Thomollari's (@aureta) fashion.
ID: What are you reading?
MA: Christophe Galfard's The Universe in Your Hand: A Journey Through Space, Time, and Beyond. I am very attracted to the astral world right now, and this book is an incredible journey from the infinitely big to the infinitely small, going through all the theories that explain our world. It's simple and exciting, and puts relativity at the center of everything.
ID: Do you have a secret you can share?
MA: Last year, for my birthday, my fiancé found a hotel in a ghost town lost in the mountains, the Dunton Hot Springs hotel, in Dolores, Colorado. It’s a unique experience—you are super high up, completely alone in the mountains, in this old ghost town. It's absolutely amazing.
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