The Grande Dame of Gorgeous
Sybille de Margerie creates a first—every single time
Photography courtesy of Sybille de Margerie
There are a multitude of designers for whom it is de rigueur to have a signature style, a recognizable streak that sets them apart from the rest.
This isn’t the case with Sybille de Margerie.
The Parisian grande dame of bespoke elegance, forever associated with the words luxury and highly anticipated, operates inside the subtle interplay between art and design. Her creations are a harmonious blend of beauty, luxury and pleasure. But what’s most remarkable is that the designer herself is nowhere to be found in them.
Luxury Bedroom inside Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam Within walking distance of the Van Gogh Museum and the Anne Frank House, this hotel is where indulgent sleep meets luxury—and six centuries worth of history. The Legend has 52 suites designed in de Margerie’s understated style, in soft beiges, lilacs and creams, with marble and steel accents. Famous heads who have rested here include William of Orange, Maria de’ Medici and Winston Churchill.
There are, however, some recurring themes in every de Margerie design: understated elegance and color harmony. With eponymous offices in Paris, Florence and Dubai, de Margerie tells a unique story with every project, whether it’s a private chalet in the French Alps at Courchevel or a luxury hotel, such as the Royal Champagne Hôtel & Spa.
For each endeavor, de Margerie’s talent is fusing what she knows about form, texture, color and landscape with her clients’ personal histories, and then returning something original. How does she do it? Here, the designer offers insights into her creative process.
Renovated Victorian Villa in London Once the home of a painter, this villa in the heart of London has been renovated alongside contemporary buildings. De Margerie chose a blend of natural stone, light-wood flooring, molten glass, and a subtle mix of purple and beige in elegant fabrics and supple leather for an overall feeling of discreet elegance.
DO YOU LIKE BUTTERFLIES?
“We have a questionnaire we send to our clients to get to know them better. Do you smoke? Do you like wine? Do you like le cinéma? We gather the answers, create a concept and then begin to craft a story through the language of texture, color and landscape. Our clients want something original. They don’t want to be part of a trend.”
“I have my favorite colors. But I’m not designing for myself. Art is personal. Design is for others. People come to me because they want something for themselves. It is important that I remain neutral to my own tastes.”
The Rose Gold Lounge inside one of the Royal Atlantis Residences in Dubai This iconic address boasts 231 residences that look over the Arabian Sea. De Margerie brought the outside in by selecting fabrics and colors that echo the water. “Dubai’s colors are like a jewel box,” she says. “Our palette was inspired by the light blues of morning and the golden light of noon.”
A SENSE OF PLACE
“I take my inspiration from local culture, local light and local customs. I am fortunate to be able to travel between Paris, Florence and Dubai, where my offices are. I take the best from each place.”
DESIGNING THE AFTERNOON
“Each place has its own colors. The colors of Dubai are: blue in the morning, golden at midday and copper in the afternoon. The pillows and textiles inside The Royal Atlantis Residences were inspired by the colors of Dubai.”
— Sybille de Margerie
The Luxury of Sleep A great believer in commissioning work from emerging talent, de Margerie enlisted surface-relief artist Helen Amy Murray to sculpt the wall coverings for the Royal Atlantis residences in Dubai. The wall panel in rose complements the room’s whites with a touch of haute couture.
BETWEEN THE LOUVRE AND THE RENAISSANCE
“I am Parisian. Design is part of my DNA. I also love Italy—its culture, its traditions, Italian food and creativity. When you think of the Renaissance, that is Italy’s heritage. Italy offers so much to the world of design and textiles. I bring a combination of France and Italy to my projects.”
TECHNOLOGY AS ACQUIRED TASTE
“If you walk into a room and it takes you 20 minutes to figure out how the TV works, technology has failed. For a while, technology became a trend in design. This trend went too far. Now I’m seeing it come to the middle. Technology must serve the mood and taste of the one who plans to use it.”
Mandarin Oriental Paris With a prime location on Rue Saint-Honoré, near the Louvre museum, this hotel is immersed in French history. A Parisian herself, de Margerie set out to honor the past while bringing accents of contemporary elegance to the spacious rooms and suites. Shown here: a Man Ray work printed in velvet by Pierre Frey.
“Good design aims at emotion. It might be the feel of a fabric, the scent of a place or an accretion of elements that recall a feeling. Too monochromatic a space feels like a coffin. Too rococo takes you out of the experience. Harmony comes from balance.”