An Exclusive Interview With Devout Classicist Juan Pablo Molyneux – We’ll introduce you to Juan Pablo Molyneux, an internationally famous interior designer, in today’s piece. He’s a devout classicist who designs colorful rooms with historical foundations that aren’t historical reenactments. His art is daring, eclectic, amusing, and unmistakably his own. France and the United States are Molyneux’s favorite countries. One of the designer’s favorite cities has always been Paris.
Who Is Juan Pablo Molyneux?
He feels himself fortunate to be doing the best work in the world, thus every day is different for him. Depending on the project, his team and he get to explore a variety of worlds, styles, and eras. “One day, it’ll be eighteenth-century Russia or Mughal-period India, the next, the Golden Age of French furniture, and the next, the most exquisite modernity,” says the author. The only thing that connects many types and eras of design is my personal taste and my way of mixing materials, textures, colors, and works of art.
“When we prepare a diner and carefully select our guests, some serious, others comical,” he continued, “the goal is to know how to bring everything together in harmony, to establish a dialogue between the numerous aspects of a setting.” When asked about his employment, Juan Pablo Molyneux remarked that his work is always tough due to the wide range of responsibilities handed to him. This variation keeps him from repeating the same actions, making it the perfect antidote to boredom.
“Of course, my personal denominator remains the same across all projects, but each project inspires me, changes my approach, and helps me to discover new universes.” Juan Pablo Molyneux went on to say more. Juan’s endeavors always pique his interest, and the obstacles he encounters compel him to devise novel answers based on his prior experience and interests. The variety of clients, each with their own likes, lifestyle, and culture, also pushes him out of his comfort zone.
“For example, if my client has an established collection of Old Master paintings, that will inevitably impact the project in its very composition. If he is crazy about racehorses or if he is a music lover, I will infuse the project with these particular components, use them as a leitmotif in the symphony.”
– JUAN PABLO MOLYNEUX
Juan Pablo Molyneux has essentially accomplished everything in his life by establishing a fantastic career. He boldly asserts that the journey was long and will continue, that any event in a man’s life has importance and has an impact on his present and future, and that his country of origin is one of them. “Chile is the country where I was born and raised, therefore it has a special place in my heart.” Having said that, I have always traveled widely and have done so since I was a child. At the age of 20, I travelled to Paris to complete my studies at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and the Ecole du Louvre.
Even in what was then known as the Soviet Union, I went on a coming-of-age road trip! After that, I spent a few years in Argentina, where I started a design firm, before relocating to New York and starting J.P. Molyneux Studio, Ltd., which is still in operation today. After only a few years, I was ecstatic to become an American citizen. I also opened a Paris office for my firm more than 20 years ago. As you can see, because I consider myself a global citizen, I am indifferent with frontiers.” Juan smiled and nodded. Juan Pablo Molyneux also stated, when asked about his goals, that if invited, he would gladly beautify the Mars colony.
Molyneux, as you may know, has surrounded himself with a select group of craftspeople. The official badges provided by the French Ministry of Culture, the “Meilleurs Ouvriers de France – M. O. F.” (“Best Workers of France”) and the “Entreprises du Patrimoine Vivant – E. P. V.” (“Living Heritage Companies”), are widely seen across Paris. Molyneux sits on the boards of directors of major private heritage organizations like The World Monuments Fund, The French Heritage Society, and The American Friends of Versailles, with whom he collaborates on major restoration projects of historical monuments like Versailles, Fontainebleau, the Louvre, Loire castles, and Middle Ages cathedrals like Notre Dame de Paris.
They raise money to fund restoration projects for historic monuments all throughout the world, not just in France. “I work with the same craftspeople as part of my own commitment to cultural and artistic legacy.” As a result of my New York office opening the American market to them, several of these artisans and artists have been able to establish satellite ateliers in the United States. Because their time is not “our time,” these artisans instilled in me the principles of perfection, refusal of mediocrity, and patience. “Their unequaled knowledge and abilities are based on centuries-old methods and practices,” he explained.
His greatest joy comes from assisting in the transmission of this extraordinary craftsmanship to future generations, and he gets particularly excited when he sees 20-year-old apprentices working on his job sites. “They are the living future of these centuries-old traditions and skills,” he explained.
Interior design, like any other creative process, is subject to the whims of fashion and passing fads, which are fueled by “trends” in the industry. All of this is absolutely natural, and it’s all part of the universal and very human desire for change and innovation. It also has a significant economic influence, increasing the sector’s market and allowing new ideas to be presented. When asked about the current trend, Juan Pablo Molyneux expressed his displeasure with how, in the name of the latest fashion, the end of tradition is once again pronounced, and everyone praises the new trends to the heavens, presenting them as the true future of interior design.
“How transitory these “futures” are has always amazed me! A new trend rarely lasts more than ten years, and a completed product can become old and monotonous quickly. Numerous instances may be found in a casual search of the speciality press over the last few years, which is a good illustration of contemporary trends. This argument, I believe, will drag on indefinitely, so it’s probably best to maintain your composure.
My ultimate desire is for something that will stand the test of time. In my opinion, quality and perfection are far more important than these prefabricated and somewhat artificial excuses. Any good product will automatically stand out from the crowd, thus there is no need for fashion.” He went on to say more.
He explains that there is enough place for everyone, refusing to forget or reject the past as long as it is of acceptable quality. “I am not unambiguous, and I relish the opportunity to create vastly different universes from project to project.” Within a single piece, I will mix styles, periods, colors, and materials. The sole arbiters are the overall harmony and the balance between these components. I design spaces for modern men and women who are conscious of their age. I evoke rather than reconstruct. I work with excellence, both old and new, to deliver the best service to my clients. There is no intrinsic conflict between true modernism and tradition. It’s remarkable how well the most cutting-edge contemporary art works in a classical setting. Why don’t you strive to bring people together instead of constantly opposing them?”
What Do You Think Of Juan Pablo Molyneux So Far?
The term ‘ensemblier,’ which refers to a broad approach to interior design, is perfect for him since it captures the spirit of their work, juxtaposition and combination. Nothing, he believes, is worse than fake modernism, which he regards as the most dull and conformist thing on the globe. “You can’t disregard the past any more than you can dismiss invention.” This is a common method of concealment. A lack of culture on the one hand, and an incapacity to recognize the diversity of living art and modern originality on the other. Personally, I’ve chosen to have an open mind about everything. “I want to be able to freely travel from one to the other with no limitations on my thoughts,” he continued.
Juan Pablo Molyneux’s sense of continuity also allows him to contribute to the preservation and, above all, transfer of major craft industries through his designs, something he is very proud of. In this case, however, tradition does not preclude the use of new technologies. New synthetic materials and innovative processes such as CAD-CAM and laser cutting are welcome in the craft industries. This continual dialogue between tradition and innovation assures the high-quality commodities that have become such an important part of our economy. The craft sector, known in France as a “Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant” or “Living Heritage Company,” now has its own official label (E. P. V.) and is thriving on the international market, helping to combat the inflow of low-quality, low-value goods.
“The French luxury goods industry has built its fine international reputation on the highest quality standards and a culture of excellence. It continues to go from strength to strength and its expertise and top-quality products are the envy of the world.”
– JUAN PABLO MOLYNEUX
In terms of clientele, there are no set guidelines; according to Juan Pablo Molyneux, for every ten clients, there will be ten completely distinct personalities, each with their own unique histories, sensitivities, desires, and requests. That is one of the things that makes his job so interesting. Every day is unique. “I believe I have the best job in the world because it allows me to be culturally enriched and open to new influences all of the time.” One day you’re working on neoclassical Russia, the next on French châteaux, and the day after that on Palladian villas. In my offices, this perpetual movement of the soul inspires us all to be more creative and original. “Enjoying what you’re doing is one of the secrets to a successful undertaking,” he remarked.
In terms of his customer interactions, he is always available and accommodating to clients from the moment they contact him, and he places a great importance on this availability. He recognizes that the majority of his clients are busy people with little spare time. “I always ask for the blueprints and photographs to be emailed to me so that I can get a sense of the project before we meet.” Then, in most cases, I want to go to the customer’s site and meet with him to get to know each other and begin a dialogue that will provide me important insights into what the client is looking for and how far his requirements have progressed.”
Following this discussion, a contract for the project’s initial general design phase is drafted. The project’s broad drawings, as well as certain elevations that allow him to generate two or three “Renderings” of the key elements, must then be submitted as part of a proposal. In terms of color, material rendering, furniture, fabrics, and so on, these color perspectives are quite close to the final product. Customers are frequently surprised by how closely the final product matches the renderings Molyneux provided a few months before.
I want a client to be motivated and have made a decision about my ideas at the end of the proposal process for a project to be completely successful. Nothing irritates me more than folks who can’t make up their minds. Of course, modifications are always possible as long as they don’t disrupt the project’s main lines, or foundations, as he described it.
Molyneux approaches each project with a wide-ranging curiosity about all things delightful, as a global citizen. His rooms have a distinct feeling of being in the right location. They’re the result of a long discussion with the client. They’ve been built with meticulous attention to detail. He absorbs, interprets, and reinterprets the past in his work with more than four decades of experience, producing a legacy that will definitely endure the test of time.
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