Argentine architect, Luis Laplace - head designer of Laplace, which he co-founded with partner in life and business, Christophe Comoy - has designed elegant, arresting spaces all over the globe. Luis sat down with Cabana's Camilla Frances to share beautiful Laplace interiors, from Menorca to Mexico, and discuss his greatest challenges, guiltiest pleasures, career highs, favorite fabrics and much more.
Santa Magdalena, Menorca; © Daniel Schaefer
The most memorable trip I've ever taken:
I was wandering the streets of Paris on my first trip to the French capital in the early 1990s, when a friend told me, "if you turn right on the corner you, you will see the most elegant Parisian woman". And here she was, an unexpected very tall Eiffel Tower, I couldn't believe it; I just met in person someone I'd known all my life. Ever since then, I realized how important it is not to take things for granted.
The greatest challenge I’ve overcome:
Being bullied at school created a bit of a trauma around speaking in front of other people. For many years, I thought there was something wrong with my voice. Once I realized the origin of this complex, I was able to overcome it.
A moment that defined or changed my career:
I try as much as possible to be in the flow, as described by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his book (The Flow) about the meaningful pursuit of a goal. I am constantly re-inventing myself. I do my best to be pivotal for new approaches and new outcomes. I refuse to limit myself to a specific set of skills or a single domain of expertise.
I would describe my childhood as:
I was a very lonely child, therefore I created my own universe. I remember talking alone to people I imagined. I was also very curious, I'd spend hours observing adults, as if I was learning to become an actor. I guess I developed various senses as a result.
Santa Magdalena, Menorca; © Daniel Schaefer
My proudest achievement:
My relationship, with my partner Christophe Comoy, and my career, both intermingled. Working and living together - which we've done for more than two decades - can be challenging at times. We are wired differently, probably opposite in many ways, but that’s also why we are so complementary. A key to success, when working with your life partner, is to define clear realms of competence, where one takes the lead. Avoiding unnecessary conflicts is crucial for us. I define the creative direction of the studio, and Christophe is in charge of the strategy and the projects' selection (because we have realized his intuition is forward looking, more rational, and eventually vindicated). This balance provides me with a framework and path where I can freely express my creativity. In business, at the level we have now reached, compromising does not work. In our private life, on the contrary, compromises are vital, so are low expectations.
An object I would never part with:
I have a ceramic statue of Sainte-Thérèse de Lisieux that my mother gave me before leaving Argentina. I used to travel with it everywhere when I was young. Today, she is chipped all over from those trips. She now stays on the top of my nightstand in Paris.
The best gift I’ve ever received:
A double decker box of Caran d'Ache pencils, which my grandfather offered me as a child. In those days in Argentina, this was an expensive gift. I negotiated it to be my birthday present, Christmas present and Three King’s gift. I don’t recall having been happier in my life for a present.
My guiltiest pleasure or greatest extravagance:
I rarely feel guilty for anything, Italian food in excess is the closest to guilt.
My next weekend-away destination:
I have been contemplating a visit to the Louisiana Museum in Denmark for years, I am committed to go this Spring.
My favorite flea market or antiques fair:
The flea market in Paris is unbeatable, it is amusing to find all sorts of unusual things. I normally go for furniture and ceramics, but recently I've started collecting tools of all sorts; I am especially fascinated by those who belonged to artisans. There are a few mad French people who dedicate their life to hunting and saving these precious objects. Manual labor for me is among the most noble activity. These tools represent so much, each has been linked to someone with a story. I love the form that normally follows the function. I love the way they age - if there is wood, there is patina; if there is metal, there is rust.
I feel most confident when wearing:
I only feel confident wearing comfortable clothes. In the studio, I usually wear my worker jacket in blue or white, Le Laboureur's type. I need pockets for my phone, pencils etc.
My signature scent:
Various Fueguia scents created by my friend Julien Bedel. They feel different to me, and people always tell me I smell good when wearing them.
My all-time favorite fabric:
I love Chiarastella Cattana's fabrics for her traditional Venetian technics with a design and color twist. They are so elegant on any table.
My go-to recipe:
Pasta in all forms with anchovies, artichokes, or simple cacio pepe.
Ideal interiors in three words:
Effortless. Eclectic. Empowering.
Distasteful interiors in three words:
Formulated. Out of context. Pretentious.
Luxembourg garden, Paris; © Alice Mesguisch
An artwork or artist that takes my breath away:
The Romanian artist, Brancusi. I am obsessed with him, and I cannot get enough of him... His revolutionary approach to sculpture is still inspiring today.
A new artist or designer whose work excites me:
Anj Smith, because her universe is deeply engaged.
The person I call for good advice:
I don’t need to call anyone because he is next to me, Christophe gives me the best advice.
The person I call for a good time:
Iwan and Manuela Wirth, we travel a lot together… they celebrate food of any kind, whether we are in Naples or in Ciutadella, we love to go to the fish market. Simplicity and authenticity are the best [traits] and not easily available.
Just One More Thing...
One master: Carlo Scarpa
One muse: My mother
One city: Mexico City
One artwork: Any Renaissance sculpture in Florence
One book: El jardín de senderos que se bifurcan (Borges)
One museum: Palazo Abatellis
One shop: Chiarastella Cattana in Venice
One song: Sleepy Lagoon
One color: I choose them all of them, even those nobody likes they can look great next to a good color partner. Think of Josef Albers.
One flower: Those that grow wild.
One word to describe your style: Eclectic
One word to describe Cabana: Desirable
Hauser and Wirth, Somerset; © David Bebber
You can read more about Luis Laplace's work and inspirations in the new issue of Cabana, available now.