Christian Liaigre

You could say that famous designer Christian Liaigre worked like a tailor, stitching together a custom fit dress that appeals to the taste of his customer. The talented designer would astonishingly blend in a person’s soul seamlessly into his minimalist and aesthetically refined style of interior design. The outcome always was a tailor-made design to fit its owner, neither too tight nor too baggy, and in absolute harmony with the surroundings. As the ‘Haute Couture’ of interior design, it’s no surprise that Liaigre’s designs come across as luxurious…

Liaigre was born in 1943 in the French city of La Rochelle. At age 17, he enrolled in École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts’ (National School of Fine Arts) and ‘Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs’ (National School of Decorative Arts). Around this time, he met Alberto Giacometti who introduced Liaigre to the work of Constantine Brancusi. The creations of these artists remained as important sources of inspiration throughout Christian Liaigre’s career.

Being the son of a family from Vendée who were show horse trainers can occasionally be felt strongly in the details he fused into his designs. Traces of growing up in the harbour town of La Rochelle also emerge in some of his designs in the form of naval themes.

After graduating from school, Liaigre returned to Vendée to join his family in the horse training business. This return to rural life actually helped the designer open his eyes and recognise how passionate he was about design. On his return to Paris, he started working as a creative director at Nobilis Fontan. However, he quit his job there once he realised that he would never be allowed to showcase his own furniture collection. In 1985, he opened his first showroom in Paris where he finally found the opportunity to exhibit his elegant designs to the world. Besides his definitive revamps of Hotel Montalembert in Paris and Mercer Hotel in Manhattan, he was commissioned to design numerous high-end private estates and yachts. His diverse roster of clientele included art dealer Larry Gagosian, artist Marina Abramovic, fashion designers Calvin Klein and Karl Lagerfeld, hotelier Ian Schrager and singer Bryan Adams.

Opened in 1997 in SoHo, ‘The Mercer’ is known as the sister hotel of Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles and famous hotelier Andre Balazs’ second major project. The building housing the Mercer Hotel was completed in 1890 in the architectural style of ‘Romanesque Revival’ and was formerly home to a multitude of art studios. Looking at the customer portfolio, the hotel never seems to have fallen short of prestige and affluence. It seems that the building had inherent nobility and appeal which kept on attracting artists from all walks of life. The Mercer is the epitome of quintessential New York interior design. Its red brick walls, contemporary furniture and vistas overlooking Manhattan have made this hotel the incarnation of luxury.

Liaigre opened his first New York showroom in 2012 which was followed by a second (and last) in Manhattan in 2018.

With a career spanning 35 years and a very impressive client portfolio under his belt, Christian Liaigre emerged as one of the most sought-after designers of his time. The child who once tended horses on a small farm in Vendée evolved into an immortal name which has been an immense influence and inspiration to the world of design. Christian Liaigre sadly passed away last month, yet his name will be remembered for generations to come with his trademark designs of ultimate elegance.