I love finding out that someone you already thought was cool has an equally impressive place to come home to at night. We had the chance to visit Cecilia Bönström, Artistic Director behind Zadig & Voltaire, at her home in Paris while we were there.
Her casual-rock, modern aesthetic for the brand transcends directly to her home, which she shares with her husband and four children, and, while we were there, even her twin sister stopped by! (Yes, a twin – much like her and just as cool!)
The house was once one of Hausmann’s places, where he would have famed parties… The interior, previously dark and very gothic, now bright and eclectic – and filled with the most incredible art, furniture and, of course, some Zadig accessories strewn about. What I loved most was how comfortable her home felt, like it was really a home well lived in… And a place welcome to many.
How did you come to find your home?
It was a very long process before finding this place because it was important to find something big enough for our four children, but not too big since I like my apartment to be “intimate”, cosy and not impersonal. Twenty years ago, when passing by Rue Rembrandt, I was admiring the Glycine growing along the stone building and I was dreaming about how it would be to live there… And now it is my apartment.. Sometimes life brings you great surprises!
What was the process of decorating your home like, did you have a particular vision in mind?
This place was made by Haussman himself to be his “lieu de fete” and has so much history inside its walls that it was important to respect the heritage. So we kept the amazing paintwork on the ceiling and huge open fire place, even though it’s almost a bit too much. Then we liberated the apartment from its heavy wooden details, and what we kept we painted it in white so it was more neutral and wouldn’t clash with the contemporary art.
The idea behind it was to create an apartment that feels like a home, and where the grass from Parc Monceau and the Glycine would live with us somehow.
You have a lot of art, what are some of your more significant pieces? How important is it to you to have art around you?
I always say, of course you can live without art but, when you have it in your life, it gives you a second dimension. We have it everywhere in our apartment – in the bathrooms and childrens’ rooms, sometimes even just standing on the floor. And also in the studio where I create the collection. The idea is to enjoy and live art. It is really part off your life and not just decoration. My favorite pieces are the black or golden pieces from Rudolf Stingel, the poesy in the paintings of David Ostrowski and, of course, Christopher Wool.
What similarities are there between the way you design and how you decorate?
Everything is connected!! When I design and when I decorate a house, I always say to myself, “Less is more” and the research of perfection in SIMPLICITY is my goal.
Zadig & Voltaire is all about unique products and about basics with a twist, and, when I imagine my homes, I want them simple and as authentic as possible. The empty space is more important than having too much decoration.
Where do you find inspiration — for your home, your style and how you live your life?
After a modeling career that lasted almost 15 years, destiny pushed me to work for Zadig & Voltaire – and it was actually the only company that I wanted to work for. I think that I “breathe” the brand, and so the inspiration comes kind of naturally. In between seasons, and collections, time goes by so fast and the ideas come so quickly because I’m constantly stimulated and inspired when I see people in the street or at an art fair, where I think that often people have great looks and a real sense of proportions. My eyes flick from one person to a painting, and it’s really exciting.
Then I love, of course, surfing on blogs or going through art books at night when my whole family is asleep. And the most important source of my inspiration is actually Zadig & Voltaire in itself because, for me, it is really important to stay faithful to our own DNA.