Part builder, part fine artist, and part stylist, Guillaume Gentet is an award-winning, French-born décorateur ensemblier. Drawing inspiration from painting, fashion, architecture and nature, his designs aim to be entirely fresh, often whimsical, and unpretentious.
Who inspired this career path for you? When I was very young, my parents got me a Playmobil Castle, which was a popular toy at the time. I could spend hours on end mixing and matching the parts to create my own designs and worlds with the pieces. I knew then that I loved designing spaces, and it didn’t take long for me to realize I could make a career out of it.
What is your go-to source for inspiration? I love looking at books for inspiration. The World of Ornament by Auguste Racinet and M. Dupont-Auberville is a constant source of material inspiration. I also love any books and projects by interior designers Sister Parish, Dorothy Draper, and Mario Buatta. Their elegant use of exuberant colors and lush prints has really influenced my own design concepts over the years.
Tell us about your creative process. I begin every project by visiting the space—that’s where my initial visions come to me. I always try to experience a space at different times of day to ensure I get a full sense of what the space needs. Then I begin sketching and my team and I start collecting inspirational images, fabrics, art, or other objects that we will keep on-hand as the space comes together.
Describe your style. My style is unpretentious, exuberant, and joyful.
What are the biggest trends you see in interior design right now and what are you loving (and not loving)? Traditional design is making a comeback, but with a fresher approach to coloring and pattern work. There also seems to be a deeper focus on the finer finishes and smaller details. Currently, I’m loving textiles and trims. Robert Allen Group has a huge selection and I used them as much as I could in the room I designed for Holiday House NYC, a celebrated interior design showcase benefiting The Breast Cancer Research Foundation®. I’m not loving oversize furniture, shag rugs, and all-black kitchens.
What is a staple in your toolkit? I never go to any project site without my Swarovski Crystal-encrusted measuring tape. Needless to say, the contractors never mistake it for theirs!
Who do you look up to in the design world? Chelsey McLaren, Piet Boon, P.E. Guerin, Roche Bobois, Brunschwig & Fils, and the House of Hermès are inspirations of mine.
If you could design a space for anyone, what kind of space and for whom? My dream would be to design a kitchen for Madonna.
Tell us your favorite design-related word, phrase, or quote. Sister Parish was asked what color she would use for a room and responded: “Taxi-Cab Yellow.”
Which design blog, website, TV show, or magazine would you be lost without? I read Marie Claire regularly, and I can’t live without Downton Abbey. My husband and I just discovered it and watched all five seasons over a few weeks to catch up with the rest of the world.