Interview: Laura Gonzalez moves up a gear


At the restaurant La Gare, which she completely renovated, Laura Gonzalez with Owl, two inseparable (2014).

Bruno Comtesse

Known for the renovation of the legendary Bus Palladium, Laura Gonzalez, architect and interior decorator, has for four years imbued her decorating style. Maison Française Magazine went to meet him for a straightforward interview.

The woman who became known at the age of 26 with the renovation of the Bus Palladium and a deco style of her own, today has 30. In four years, the designer Laura Gonzalez has passed a course, in its professional life as in his private life. But things remain unalterable in her: her energy, her determination, her courage.

Ever wanted to become an architect?

Laura Gonzalez: Not at all. The archi suddenly came to me, washing my hands! I was enrolled in hypokhagne, then I planned to do khagne, then sciences-po. The classic course, what ... And I do not know what took me: I thought it was not me. I asked my mother: "Who designs the bathrooms, the interior designers? Yes? Then it will be my job ..." I enrolled at the Paris-Malaquais school and, from the first class, I knew it was my way. I spent years of great education. My father, he made me mouth for six months, he did not want to talk to me anymore. It was a family drama, I do not know why ... He had done science-po and it was his dream that I follow his footsteps. But today, he's the proudest father in the world, he's boasting all day long!

Canal Saint-Martin, the Mems bistro, renovated by Laura in 2013.

At the age of 14, you entered the House of Education of the Legion of Honor, why?

Laura Gonzalez: Because it was my grandfather's dream. Subsequently, I was a little sorry because it was really hard. I, who, as an only daughter, had been incubated by my mother, found myself in a very strict school and in a dormitory. But there are more difficult things in life, you get used to it. And then the deal with my parents was clear: if I worked well, I did what I wanted on the weekends. And I wanted so much to party and to leave this school that I worked a lot!

Still, have you benefited?

Laura Gonzalez: Yes, a rigor in my work and a real autonomy. If I had not been there, I would not have become who I am today.

Very rare: you set up your agency, Pravda Arkitect, at the age of 22 while you were a student ...

Laura Gonzalez: A friend who had just bought a shop in the 1st arrondissement asked me to draw two or three plans of development but, in the end, I did everything. To thank me, he offered me an iPod - that's what I wanted - and small Bose speakers. I was the happiest person in the world, I was 22 years old ... And why not start my agency? What did I have to lose? After that, I worked on a friend's apartment and it was gone, thanks to word of mouth. Today, there are five of us working at the agency.

The renovation of the Bus Palladium made you know the general public in 2010. At 26, it was a big challenge.

Laura Gonzalez: Yes, the stakes were huge for me and it had to be done in a very short time. The work was done by a day team and a night shift, I slept on the spot ... In fact, I was not sleeping. I did not see anyone for three months. I was crazy! But that's how it works, right? And then these people had trusted me while I had only about thirty small projects to my credit. It was the beginning of the vintage trend and I played this card thoroughly.

The Belle Epoque, club bar of the 16th arrondissement, 2013.

V Mati

We could have been afraid that later, you used and abuse this style.

Laura Gonzalez: If I created this style mix and match, where I mixed the wallpapers and used the motives galore, it's because it allowed me to work with minibudgets while giving the illusion that they were not so small as that. Subsequently, many copied me. I do not have the big head, it's the truth. Some friends asked me, "Are you the one who has redone such a restaurant?" But it was not me.

This is no longer the case ?

Laura Gonzalez: No, I now have clients who allow me to draw furniture, fixtures, use more sophisticated materials, collaborate with craftsmen, decorating painters, and it's not the same as with go hunt chairs and cover them with cloth. Because my fan is now ten times larger, I was able to change my style. Some clients do not understand that I refuse their project because their budget is too tight. It's not that I denigrate them, but if I accepted, I would fall back into what I did in my early days and it would serve me. It's important to know how to question yourself.

I heard that you dreamed of making a museum ...

Laura Gonzalez: My dream of an interior designer is to make hotels around the world. My architect dream, yes, it's a museum, but not right now, not at 30 years old. At 55, with experience ... Do not suggest it to me, I'll do it, that's for sure! (Laughter)

Anton, your son, is 12 months old. Does having a child change the way you work?

Laura Gonzalez : Yes. Whatever happens, I'm at home around 8 pm Before, I stayed in the office until midnight. And then, I am much less anxious. In the old days, when a problem arose, it was the problem of my life. Today is a work problem. But that's normal: my agency was my first child.

The Schmuck, a bar-restaurant in the Odeon district, 2011.

The Schmuck

Your husband is also an architect?

Laura Gonzalez: No, he is a freelance stylist and works for Zadig & Voltaire, Zapa and De Fursac. What's great is that in our respective businesses, we have the same approach. With customers to manage and trends for me and fashion for him who sometimes mix, but without any competition between us. He, too, put my feet back on the ground. Before I could talk about my work all day, now I can separate things.

What are you currently working on?

Laura Gonzalez: I just finished a house in Miami, another one in Deauville. I will soon begin in Paris the site of Relais Christine, in the district of Odeon, and the transformation of four small apartments into seasonal rental locations. A castle in Auvergne for individuals (a project over ten years). Finally, for a developer, an upscale apartment building, in an old administrative building, at 44, rue de Bellechasse, in Paris. We drew the common areas, the 22 apartments, and imagined a very black and white deco concept. We will change with the owners, according to their desires and their way of life, all they want from our deco charter. You see, we do not sleep! But I will go on vacation for three weeks. This is the first time in six years. My maximum is ten days. I'm going to turn off my phone.

Really ?

Laura Gonzalez: From midnight to 5 am and from 8 to 9 am, yes (Laughs).

At the restaurant La Gare, which she completely renovated, Laura Gonzalez with Owl, two inseparable (2014).

Bruno Comtesse

The Wood, a bar in the Marais, 2013.

The project of 44, rue de Bellechasse, in Paris. So chic!

Laura Gonzalez

The first renovated rooms of Relais Christine, 2014.

Relais Christine