With Quark, we want to share with you behind the scenes of the world of decoration. We are going to meet those who shape what we call “deco” on a daily basis. Today we are with Laura Pons, interior decorator based in Lyon.
Laura Pons: Interior Designer
My name is Laura and I am an interior designer. I am also mother of 3 young boys, which explains why my whole life as a decorator has been redesigned. It is important for me to have a Pro / Personal balance.
I am from Lille, it is my favorite region. I studied in Bordeaux at the ESC Bordeaux then I worked in Paris for ten years. I have been living in Lyon for a year and a half.
How did you get into the decorating world?
Decoration is a second professional life . I hesitated for a long time with design studies. But in the end it was the path of reason that prevailed and I went to business school, telling myself that it would not close any doors for me.
I obviously got involved during school in the arts office, I followed the options culture, decoration etc...
I started my professional life at PSA. I have a career in the automotive industry, can you imagine! I was in digital and CRM for PSA. It's an old part of my life. When I arrived at PSA it was the very beginning of social networks, websites, apps, digital sales tools, newsletters... I ended up taking the lead of the digital team when I had entered the company like Madam Facebook . It was really interesting to experience this period and see how the web has changed the world of business in a few years. At first, I was limited counting likes then digital became a strategic sector for the company.
I started thinking seriously about decoration when I was pregnant with my first child. I was working like crazy and I wanted to find a better balance in life. I have an anecdote to share with you:
When I was pregnant with my first child, I filled out a pregnancy diary in which we answer certain questions, anecdotes and memories, with a view to then passing it on to our child, so that he can read them in a few years. In the section “what do you want to pass on to your child”, I started by writing: “the audacity to follow their desires and realize their dreams” and I realized that I was not opening the way for them, and that I was therefore not in phase with my values . I felt really hypocritical in these lines. I realized this discrepancy. And I said to myself “try to become what you dream of”. I had done my second internship with an interior decorator. I had that in me for a long time. I wanted to put passion into my job and try my luck even if the sector seemed saturated to me. I wanted to lead by example and apply to myself what I want for my child, to avoid “do what I say, not what I do” ;)
I took a training course to start my retraining. I rediscovered the pleasure of learning what made me love it! It was hot! As soon as I left class, I had remembered 90% of the course, I was so passionate about it! I needed training to feel legitimate and start decorating. However, it was a lot of work. You don't have to hide it. It's very intense to go back to school after several years of work. You have to hang on and like to get involved in your work.
How do you position yourself in the sector?
When I got into interior design, I said to myself: what will set you apart from the others? My background is atypical and I have acquired a great capacity for work during all these years. I like efficiency, going to the essentials. When I work with B2B clients, I understand what they are going through in their offices because I have been in their shoes. I also understand the challenges they face. This allows to make exchanges more fluid and to give meaning to business projects. This is perhaps what differentiates me from other decorators.
I also understand what it is to be an entrepreneur. I know that an entrepreneur has a thousand other things to do than watch your presentation. So I try to go fast, to make things easier and to offer very concrete solutions for my clients.
How far along are you in your development?
I have been in Lyon for a short time and this is a new start for me. I try to make new aspirations come true. I have always been sensitive to environmental issues, organic, not wasting, producing less waste, favoring local producers... I try to do a lot of things by myself to limit my impact.
I'm not perfect on the subject. For example, I tried washable diapers and then I gave up. Let's be frank, it was too restrictive! But there are plenty of simple things you can do on a daily basis. I admire those who are zero waste. But I can't right now.
I try to make the link now between my personal aspirations and my professional actions. In the same way as in the personal side, I looked for a way to offer alternatives to my clients, without making it a radical course of action.
As soon as you talk about ecological issues, you see that it affects the people around you. More and more customers want to make eco-sourced , vintage, recovery . I avoid pushing unnecessary production in my various projects. I think that we can be in a form of frugality and do concrete things on a daily basis.
Can you describe your creative process and your way of working?
First, I really need to really understand my client. I need to know his tastes and to have a brief of his intentions: the likes / dislikes. I don't work with "my style". I try to help my client to reveal himself. If it is not "deco", I try to help it to open up. I think that if he calls on an interior designer, it's because he wants to get out of his comfort zone.
Then I isolate myself and go into a creative process. I take several hours to decline ideas. I project on paper a form of synthesis of these exchanges with my client in the form of decorative axes.
Then I go into a very strong inspiration phase. I go through Pinterest and Instagram in particular. I am looking for ways to illustrate my ideas for my client. Once I have this material, I need to very quickly unfold the creative framework from A to Z.
I really have a hard time getting a board validated or sharing moodboards alone. I already prefer to deliver a concrete framework. I deliver a project that has already been completed. It is my way of working even if it is not standard in the world of decoration.
There is a risk because the return on investment can turn against me. But I find that it's not easy for a client to project themselves into a mood board . So I prefer to roll out a project and show something concrete to my clients . This method works well and I've never had to trash a project.
In B2B you also find yourself confronted with customers who are in the rush. In this kind of situation, my working method suits them perfectly. Customers come mostly by word of mouth. So they know that I am capable of producing quickly and do not hesitate to solicit me in this kind of format.
Would you say you have a particular style?
Personally, I necessarily have things that I prefer. I like unique things and colors. I really like objects that have a story. On the other hand, I will not replicate the same thing for my clients. When I work for a client, I try to understand his aspirations with him.
Some customers sometimes seem lost but in fact it is false. Deep inside them, there is a direction in which they want to go. They are sometimes minimalist, or sometimes more looking for an effect that will not leave anyone indifferent or, conversely, want a very discreet decoration.
My instinct is that if people come looking for me as a decorator, it's mainly because they're looking for someone who's going to have a job. audacity for us . So I will always push my clients to their limits. I want my clients to say to themselves that they did well to find a decorator who knew how to go beyond their initial ideas to end up with a project that resembles them but of which they were not aware.
Decor trends for 2021
I always try to be careful with trends even if I am the first victim of these trends. I always ask myself the following question: do you choose something because you really like it, or do you do it because you saw it in such and such a magazine? A typical example, 5 years ago, was the pineapple and duck blue trend. It was everywhere. I try not to fall into the trap because then you regret these choices.
On the other hand, I find trends in art interesting. There are always cycles and they also express a state of mind of our daily life. Nor should we go against the current of trends as a matter of principle.
For 2021, we feel that one of the big topics will be the eco-responsible movement. As consumers, we want better produced and better sourced objects. We put artisans first. Today we can quite offer a pretty ceramic rather than a basic vase.
I see the return of natural and fairly raw materials. We find organic shapes, curves. We are moving towards softness and this trend is taking hold .
Similarly in colors we are moving towards natural colors. The ranges of greens continue to expand, for example. Earthy colors, terracottas also enlarge their palette. We're going to look for more nuances in sandy and natural things.
I think we are also moving towards more minimalist decoration and a selection of more interesting objects. We go more to the essential. With the period we are going through, we are trying to create “cocooning” and cozy spaces.
It's a great time to decorate. There are more people who now aspire to create wellness spaces in their homes.
Colour, a sensitive subject
There was a time when I was asked a lot about certain “fashion” colors. Paint brands really wanted to stand out through their palette. But now my clients rarely come in with color aspirations. They are less looking for a color trend.
I think that at first clients do not dare to curb a project . They are open to an approach that comes from the decorator. I ask a lot of questions about their impressions of different colors because it gives me a lot of clues about each person's aspirations. Colours are something very personal . Feedback from my clients gives me guidance. When they say to me: "I like light colors" does that mean that they want a bright space? Or that they want to find a form of good humor? You can decline the aspirations of each, dig into them . If you have correctly interpreted the expectations of a customer, you will finally be able to offer him other colors than those initially expected.
Obviously there are some recipes that adapt well to certain spaces. But there is no truth in colors.
Do you have the impression that your customers ask you for a recurring decorative style?
For individuals, requests are often more vague at first sight. They are sometimes lost in the first meetings when they do not want something very marked. This is where you have to ask the right questions to feel their aspirations. The field is quite free in these moments and you have to choose a creative axis.
When you work with professionals it's very different . They have a brand identity already worked on. And it is the values of the brand that will guide your work. I am thinking in particular of the projects with “Émoi Émoi”. It's a great brand for the family. She will do bold things but always with a fairly gentle, enveloping, reassuring approach... So I will support the brand's identity in this sense through my decoration work.
On the other hand, I worked for Mr T-Shirt. Their brief is always: “wahoo” “fun” “good mood”. This guideline can be found in the offices and shops that I have created with them.
For companies, decoration projects must embody their values. It has to show through
Tell us about your dream project!
One project that has always thrilled me is working on a parent-child hospital project.
I think parents and children want to be in a warmer space in the hospital. I think we can do something so much better, happier. We should work on a playful decoration. In this context, the decoration could bring a strong service, a little sweetness and poetry in a daily life in the hospital which can be trying.
The world of childhood really touches me. It is in early childhood that we awaken to the senses, to taste, to colors, to the world. I would therefore be delighted to be at the service of a project like this.
Decoration at a decorator
Do you find the adage about shoemakers in your home?
Obviously, I'm very sensitive to decoration. I am not into minimalism. I have them everywhere at home. To be at home it has to be alive with decoration . I am not trying to respond to a vision of beauty. It's not my thing at all. But I like to find elements of decoration that bring a form of joy .
It's not always in my house. The house is alive. There is a mix of genres.
It's not built logically. It's more of a feeling. I'm pretty good at mix and match: that means not choosing things that go together perfectly. No, you're going to get lots of disparate objects and patterns. Then you're going to mix a lot of influences and make it work.
On the other hand, I am not a compulsive shopper in decoration. My home is not a showroom!
Your sources of inspiration
I am inspired by everything! In the street, a stone, a drop in the wall, etc. In nature, the colors according to the seasons.
I often share an anecdote with my clients. If they tell me that two or three colors is too much, I tell them to go to their garden and look around. If you think your garden is too beautiful, there are already twenty colors in front of you. Nature offers an incredible number of colors and shades. You are not inventing anything in colors. They all already exist in nature, or almost.
There are also plenty of people who have great interiors and don't realize it. It inspires me a lot. They keep family heirlooms or materials that were there before them, and that's what's beautiful: when the interiors have things to tell
A website to share?
I use Instagram a lot more. In this way, I have a lot of things that come to me.
I visit sites less spontaneously, except for The Socialite Family . There is a lot of quality content on this account. He shares family stories to which I am sensitive.
People who inspire you?
I have the feeling that interior design is a rather supportive environment. I have plenty of interior architects that I follow and with whom I exchange on the networks.
Interior designs that inspire me:
Interior girls: https://www. instagram. com/lesfillesdinterieur/
Otherwise in the big names that I want to share with you: India Mahdavi!
I like his use of color. She always takes you out of your comfort zone and with her the audacity pays off.
I also love the illustrations, sacred sisters, Angélina Mc Key, Joanna Oalk etc…
There is also the talented Dorothée from Bilboquet Déco: https://www. instagram. com/bilboquetdeco/
All of this is part of my sources of inspiration.
The entrepreneurial spirit
I clearly have an entrepreneurial aspiration. I have quite a few acquaintances who have thrown boxes. I've worked on quite a few projects this way. It's inspiring, because when you launch a brand, you're super creative. You dig into your inner universe to offer something unique. This approach inspires me deeply.
At first, I asked myself the question of launching a brand. But I didn't want to alienate myself from a product. Now that I am moving forward, I realize that I do not want to develop a new need. I would love to create from a material and have an impact on waste reduction. When the time is right, it will come.
A client project to share?
I'm working on a pharmacy project with vintage furniture. It's atypical and it corresponds to this eco-responsible trend since we want to be as much as possible in reuse
Your 3 main principles of decoration
I'm more into the "anti-principle", especially in decoration. Rules are made to be broken.
Decoration is something that is experienced and felt.
In a room that is small and dark, it is not because you are going to put white that it will suddenly become bright. On the contrary, play with the contrast, go dark to make it a super “cocoon” thing. Take inspiration from the flaws of a piece to turn them into advantages. I think you have to use those flaws to turn them into strengths.
- Trust yourself: everyone has their own taste
- Trust your partners : your decorator, your craftsmen, it will enhance your project
- Have fun: there are no rules, do things that make you happy. Both as a decorator and as a client. Trying to pull out Instagram snaps.
A simple pleasure
Enjoy the moment!
In the end, that almost never happens. Read a book with a good tea.
Your musical favourites?
I love music but I always have trouble defining what I like.
So I have two things to share
1 - Think about things: Daði Freyr
2 - My Old France side: Alain Souchon - Almost
Follow the work of Laura Pons
Discover Laura Pons Website: http://lauraponsdecoration. com/
Join Laura on Instagram