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The interview: Maxime Jacquet – bad boy of interior design

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Maxime Jacquet began his career in design after coming to Los Angeles, at age 19 for his first major residential project in Malibu. Since then, this celebrity interior designer from Liege Belgium, has taken the industry by storm. Perhaps it is his fusion of fashion, and lifestyle that has every celebrity seeking his tastemaker abilities for custom interior design.

Maxime has designed for everyone from French DJ David Guetta, to famous CEO’s, to 80s pop star Paula Abdul. Here he discusses life, trends and the future with Adelto’s Assif Majid.

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You were born in Belgium, but moved to Los Angeles when you were a teenager what was your childhood like?

I was born and raised in Liege Belgium, It is a very small city compared to Los Angeles. I think I was not the “classic” kid when I grew up, I always liked colours and was wearing them. I think I always found it fun to dress up with and being different from most of the kids. I was not a big fan of school and always preferred to work in a creative way instead.

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How did you get into design? 

I think I fell into design, I always liked design and decoration but I never really expected that it would become my profession and provide me with the level of recognition I got in the US. I also think becoming an interior designer in Belgium sounded almost impossible and of course moving to America sounded more like a movie. I  was very lucky to be considered to redesign a house in Malibu, when I was 19 years old with almost no experience and in a country where I was not a resident or spoke the language. The fact that my client was a famous fashion designer helped me getting many other clients and I promoted myself through designing breathtaking estates as well as very exclusive elements such as a yacht. I think it is a business you don’t really chose to be  part of,  you kind of fall into that huge ocean and have to swim for your life in order to achieve something.

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You have been selected as a judge for an A+D Design competition in HK? Can you tell us more about this?

I am extremely proud to be part of the A+D trophy award in Asia pacific with other prestigious judges such as Oliva Puthman, I will be judging hundreds of projects submitted by the talents that are to become the designers of tomorrow. I think becoming a judge is such an important responsibility since you need to keep your mind open and always stay tuned to what will be the trends of tomorrow. I hope I will get to review a lot of young designers’ talents because they are usually incredibly talented and absolutely underrated, it’s important to let young creative people show what they are capable of. Let the most talented one win!

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How would you describe your design/brand

I design for people to enjoy the experience now, at this very moment, at this very second. I like the surprise created by a spectacular effect. I have always created something unexpected and innovative while in the same time making sure to please my clients by constantly thinking about their needs. According to me, a creative process has to match the personality of the client.

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Are you seeing any new or innovative trends in interior design?

I think the biggest trend right now is mixing up furniture together from different styles and time periods. I believe it’s a more personal and innovative way to create an interior, it is also more reflective of your personality. I think people are clearly getting more comfortable with colors, putting a pop of color is a hot thing right now.

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In your opinion what makes a great design?

No matter the style or ambiance just push it and don’t stop half way. I like to see interiors that not only look great but also feel great and smell great. When all the details are taking care of (e.g. when there are flowers and accent pieces), it is where you discover a more complete experience. I think too many times people stop half way through the process but they should not. The beauty of an interior to me is also to be different, to express yourself, to send a message that represents who you are.

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What does the word luxury mean to you?

Nothing anymore, I think a word can only express so much. Luxury to me is something you feel, not you name. It’s also a subjective term from one person to another. Real luxury is the one you create for yourself and that speaks to you.

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Whose home would you most love to decorate/design? And why?

My house. Because it is who I am and decoration always have been a true passion for me. If I could pick my client I will love to decorate Madonna’s home. She has such an eclectic life and has always re-invented herself without compromise. I’m sure she would have a delightful interior and will not be afraid of making a statement with some pieces. But on a other hand, I would also love to do a house of a royal family, this would be completely different through the level of expectations and rules that are to be applied but I love contrasts and new challenges in my work.

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What is your advice for anyone looking to improve his or her home and make it more glamorous? Where should they start?

I think the term “glamour” is linked to playing with an emotion. I think this is something you do by accents, like flowers, candles… It’s always a great way to start. My advice is also learn to look at the potential of the pieces you already have. Sometimes just by refurbishing the colour of a piece of furniture or using a different fabric can change the look of a room. You don’t always need millions of dollars to have a stunning interior, you might already have it and just didn’t notice it yet.

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Can you tell Adelto readers a unique fact yourself that no one knows?

I think that I’m a very anxious person. Even if my work has been published in 12 different countries, a judge on a TV show in Asia, designing houses all over the world I’m always freaking out of what’s going to happen next. I think I remain the same person that I was six years ago when I started and I will always be scared. But this is the reality when you are an artist that truly lives and believes in what you do. I hope the readers will agree.

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You love to shop vintage. What has been your best buy?

This is a hard question because I do like every piece I purchase, I think my best piece was actually found in a vintage estates sale in Pasadena and it’s a serial chair from B&B Italia that is called Up5 by Gaetano Pesce. The story is that the chair I got was the original piece that was used on the set design of the James Bond movie “Diamonds Are Forever” with Sean Connery. We actually have a few pictures of him sitting in the chair, but we have never been able to verify for sure if the chairs are genuine. This will remain an urban legend I believe but will also remain one of my best find pieces.

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What is Los Angeles best-kept secret?

The power of making anyone dream and this doesn’t matter if you have visited this city or not. It’s a city where determination and hard-work can make dreams possible.

Images of Beverly Hills Golden Age project

About

Assif is a luxury travel and design aficionado currently working as a BBC content producer. He holds an MA in journalism from the University of Leeds. He is partial to tea and cake - Yorkshire Tea Gold Blend please. His favourite trips include island hopping in the Seychelles, a mountain escape in Kashmir and getting lost in Hong Kong.

Assif is the current editor of Adelto Magazine. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @journolista.

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September 17, 2014 | Professionals | View comments

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