There’s a sumptuous nature to Laura Gonzalez‘s interiors and furniture. The design at Saint James Chateau-Hotel, Sir Winston and Lapérouse in Paris, and a number of Cartier stores (including NYC’s flagship location) have all been helmed by Gonzalez and each typify her eye for decadence in diverse ways. Her first solo show in NYC, titled New York Splendor, is no exception. On view until 1 March at The Invisible Collection‘s The Townhouse, the exhibition would be quicker described by what it doesn’t display rather than what it is rich in: textures, fabrics, fringing and patterns galore.
The show mixes and matches all these elements without clashing or over-crowding. Though it takes its cues from the elegance of the Upper East Side, New York Splendor feels immediately warm and inviting—due, perhaps, in part to its vivid mise en scène. In Gonzalez’s show, there is no dull corner, only maximalism that invites viewers closer to pick apart the exuberant juxtapositions that make it so splendid. We spoke to the Franco-Spanish designer to learn more about the exhibit and her dazzling vision.
What inspired New York Splendor?
For this show, we had fun creating an elegant, classic place without going against the architecture which is ultimately very French. We were inspired by this style and kept the moldings. We then modernized it with contemporary pieces of furniture, iconic pieces such as the Nenuphar table, the Lilypad chandelier (which will be in very soft colors rather than gold), the Mawu chairs, the Casa sofa, as well as a tortoise table. We called this scenography “Back to New York Splendor,” because we liked the idea of rethinking these New York flats of the Upper East Side and giving them a little touch of quirky color as we love to do.
Your style blends contrasting patterns and fabrics. How do you approach combining different elements in a way that still feels cohesive?
I like to mix genres to give a soul to places—and I don’t hesitate to use vintage furniture or to decorate the walls with flowery wallpaper. Most of the time I don’t look for a specific fabric but for an ensemble of them I can combine and blend elegantly in the same place to be in harmony with the other furniture.
Can you tell me about the colors and fabrics that run throughout the show? What led you to choose them?
I have always had a love for fabrics, which deeply influences my style. Their texture, colors and patterns are the essence of my designs. The colors of the fabrics are also essential to convey a warm atmosphere. For this occasion, we called on the Pierre Frey Fabric House. I have always loved this company, so much so that even as a child I had Pierre Frey patterns decorating the walls of my room!
How does your background influence your design language?
I spent my childhood in the south of France so I think this has influenced my work a lot. Also, I often go to museums or art exhibitions for motivation—whether it be in the patterns, prints, colors or the composition of the artworks displayed. I also try to find inspiration everywhere I go: in the bright colors or the natural light or the architectural details in the cities and museums I travel to.
When it comes to your furniture, what does production look like?
All the furniture has been specifically designed for this show, based on the most iconic pieces of my entire line. I don’t like to use the word “collection” because our mindset consists in constantly evolving and going further in our design. All the furniture has been produced in Europe with unique craftsmen. For instance, Lesage, Jean Roger, obviously Pierre Frey and others. The Lesage house, which since 2021 has been located in la Galerie du 19M de Chanel, has the largest collection of embroidery in the world and an inexhaustible source of inspiration. It is a true craft, used in haute couture and used in this show to create the Mawu chairs, which makes them unique. The backs of these chairs, when placed side by side, form a single wave.
What moves you about interior design?
I created my interior design agency in 2008 when I was just out of architecture school. I think I’ve always wanted to do that since I was little. I like to reinvent spaces, give them a new life or renovate them. Each new project is a new beginning, a new universe, unique.
All images by Rodrigo Rize, courtesy of The Invisible Collection