Florence de Dampierre Discusses Her Designs for John-Richard

The French designer pairs classical and whimsy in her new collection, which premiered at the spring 2012 High Point Market.

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Florence de Dampierre: I want to create an interior that reflects the individual, that’s affordable and not cookie-cutter, and that has personality. My inspiration is classic with a modern and unusual twist. I take a lot of the classical elements and classical design and turn them on their ear, so to speak, and add some color or an unusual element to make them fresh and interesting.

For example, the Sunburst lamp is an orange lacquer with gold speckles. Another lamp is also an orange ceramic, but with a kind of snakeskin lamp shade. I also have a blue ceramic lamp with a pale aqua snakeskin lamp shade. I like elongated urns, a bit taller than usual, which are hard to find, with fluted shades. They’re all simple yet sophisticated, with an unexpected mix of elements.

We always try to add an element of whimsy. We have some Ultrasuede upholstered furniture, but we also have Ultrasuede on some casegoods. I have a Louis XV-inspired chest of drawers with very big, bronze handles in the shape of leaves with a silver leaf finish. Everything has some classicism thought, but is made more interesting — a leopard ottoman, for example (because you always need a little leopard anywhere) but with big, oversized paw feet.

There are things in my mind that I’ve seen and reacted to. I’ve seen so much furniture. I’ve done so many designs, so I know what works and what doesn’t. There is always a thin line between making something that is good and something that is not good. I think it’s experience. I know that if you crowd the line somehow or don’t push it far enough, then it’s not good enough. Knowledge and experience help you to stay on the right path.

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