With discretion, the interior decorator and ambassadress of a contemporary lifestyle undertakes projects across the globe, allying comfort with gentle femininity. A book today celebrates her particular style, all in nuances. By Eric Jansen
She has just completed the Mont Blanc hotel’s penthouse in Chamonix, following on from Le Cœur de Megève ... Sybille de Margerie is at home in the mountains. It was on the snow- capped peaks that in 2006 her career took an important leap forward with the inauguration of the Cheval Blanc hotel in Courchevel. For the snow palace as Bernard Arnault envisaged it, Sybille de Margerie imagined a vast, cosy, colourful and resolutely contemporary chalet.
L'ambiance chaleureuse de l'hôtel Cœur de Megève
“We started with a fairly classic basis, and then went towards more modernity. We carefully selected materials such as wood, stone, leather and fur, with particularly meticulous finishing, and added a glimpse of "couture" with orange and red poufs in the dressing rooms ... " This was the early days in a style that would become her trademark: creating a comfortable universe in which luxury is all but ostentatious. The Cheval Blanc did not go unnoticed, far from it. Sybille went on to decorate a number of chalets, but her uniquely feminine style also went further afield: she left France to give the Old Cataract Hotel in Aswan a facelift, fitted a residential complex of some two hundred and thirty apartments in Dubai, then headed for Le Barthélémy in Saint-Barth to create a "relaxed luxury, with a linen, braided straw and driftwood theme ..." In between, back in Paris, she was universally acclaimed for her decoration of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.
Le luxe contemporain d'un hôtel particulier parisien
She has been called to London, to Moscow, to Tel Aviv. Projects just kept on coming and, one day, looking back at her career, Sybille de Margerie realized that she was approaching the 30th anniversary of the SM Design agency ... A journey that started with family hotels (Sybille's mother is a Taittinger ), and moved on to the decoration of Parisian restaurants and casinos. "I had fun because I could freely express my fantasy. These are places where the decor should be fun." In a short time the young woman had proven herself and had made her mark in her field. And then, she met Bernard Arnault ... To blow out the 30 candles, no over-the-top party, just a relaxed cocktail with close friends and relations at her friend Yannick Alléno's. And then, a book to leave a trace, with a typically modest discretion. The preface is signed by Hélène Arnault. Quite simply. Elsewhere in the book, no other names... she prefers to talk colours, materials, emotions. Artists and craftsmen pay homage to an expert who nonetheless gave them significant freedom to personalise their interiors. Sybille likes bespoke, a basis for luxury. And since she hasn't lost any of her fantasy, she dares to slip in a few surprises - bold colours, contemporary works of art, a smidgen of poetry and humour – but always in the best of taste. Her strength is also not to over personalise her interiors, unlike some of her colleagues. Year after year, Sybille marks her territory... with gentle femininity.
Signé Sybille de Margerie, by Laure Verchère, éditions Flammarion