Remembering Christian Liaigre, the Legendary French Interior Designer

Charles Curkin
·6 mins read
Photo credit: David Lefranc - Getty Images
Photo credit: David Lefranc - Getty Images

From Veranda

French interior design legend and entrepreneur Christian Liaigre, known for his romantic minimalist aesthetic and whose clients included Larry Gagosian, Calvin Klein, and Karl Lagerfeld, has died at age 77. We asked design-world luminaries to share their thoughts of Liaigre and the legacy he left behind.

“He was such a visionary. As a designer I have always been inspired by his work and loved incorporating his thoughtfully modern and timeless designs into many of the residential spaces I have designed. He cared so about the details, high quality materials, and craftsmanship. This is a huge loss for our community.” — Sheila Bridges, interior designer

“Christian’s passing is such a loss for the world of design. He had an incredible point of view that was distinctively his own. I was always inspired by his warm style and the way he could balance designs that were equally understated and impactful. I always thought of him as our generation’s Jean-Michel Frank and I have no doubt his legacy will live on for generations to come.” — Brad Ford, interior designer

“There’s a stillness to his aesthetic that’s welcoming and warm and his Île de Ré residence captivates me most. Like many of us, Liaigre’s living room table often doubled as his work area—a place where masterpieces were created. What a gem he was.” — Chanae Richards, interior designer

“Although widely known for his hospitality design, Christian Liaigre was among the most influential and widely copied designers of furniture and residential interiors of the 20th century. His artful distillations of forms inspired by Brancusi and Ruhlmann popularized luxurious materials in forms inspired by African sculpture and Art Deco. His powerful palette of neutrals set the tone for what consumers wanted for many years, and still looks fresh today.” — David Duncan, lighting designer

“Many designers help move us along, only a few move us forward. Christian Liaigre did just that. He understood the dignity of the design process and the responsibility of designers, architects, and craftspeople to keep evolving.” — Jeffrey Bilhuber, interior designer

"Christian was a dear friend and a lovely soul with incredible taste. He is a master in creating elegance and comfort with impeccable style. We will miss him and his genius but his work will endure far beyond his lifetime. My family is fortunate to live in a home he designed every day. Thank you, Christian." — Wendi Murdoch, entrepreneur and client

“Christian Liaigre marched to his own drum creating a seamlessly integrated environment that was both minimal and enriched at the same time. Never distracted by pyrotechnics, he created spaces and the components of spaces that stand the test of time. We all still look up to him and thank him for his stewardship and understanding of what’s important—and above all what’s human.” — Lee F. Mindel, architect and interior designer

“Liaigre is somewhere in the ether of our heroes at McMillen—up there with Le Corbusier and Charlotte Perriand. And he certainly made our ubiquitous seven-foot-sofas seem silly.” — Ann Pyne (McMillen, Inc.), interior designer

“Christian Liaigre was one of those incredibly rare talents who made me want to be a designer. I took the first check I received from my first design job and bought a tiny bronze Liaigre drinks table. That table has been by my side for over a decade now. Since then I have not done a project without a piece of Liaigre.” — Ryan Korban, interior designer


“Christian made modern furniture chic, timeless and elegant. Great attention to details was placed in all of his designs.” — Juan Montoya, interior designer

“I will never forget, in the early ’90s, going into Christian Liagres shop in Paris and visiting the Hotel Montalembert. There was no one like him; he was a pioneer with his elegant, refined all encompassing style.’ —Mark Cunningham, interior designer

“I remember the first time I saw his Chantecaille floor lamp and was caught off guard by its beauty. Strong, minimal, and with both form and material thoughtfully considered, the lamp is a functional sculpture. Thank you for influencing so many Christian, you will be sorely missed” — Alyssa Kapito, interior designer

You cannot overstate the impact Christian Liaigre’s Montalembert hotel in Paris had on design in the early ’90s. He kind of invented the boutique hotel—right after its actual invention—or at least took it from something rock ‘n’ roll into territory that was more romantic and intimate. Still chic and sleek, but much more personal. I fell in love in his environments, I conceived a child in his environments, I wrote a book in his environments, and for good luck I’m pretty sure I’ve put at least one piece of his furniture or lighting in every one of my projects, in hopes that some of that Liaigre cool would rub off. I’m proud to say I was very inspired by him because he never did one thing that didn’t move design forward somehow, a lot or a little. To have people respond to your work like that? There’s nothing more you can ask for as a designer.” — David Netto, interior designer

“On a trip to Paris in 1992, I happened on the Hotel Montalembert and thought, “who is this designer?!’ From that moment forward I kept an eye on Christian Liaigre who became a seismic influence in the world of interior design. In my first commission, I remember being excited to use a few of his meticulously crafted, stylish pieces. The client’s still cherish them to this day. —Ernest de la Torre, interior designer

“Just like when you see a Rolls Royce drive down the street, you could look at his work and immediately identify it as Liaigre. The simple lines and geometry of his iconic furniture pieces and the rich palettes of bronze, beige, and grey which flooded the rooms he created are an inspiration. He was a true original and a star.” — Joy Moyler, interior designer

It’s the end of an era. Christian Liaigre was truly one of the greatest. His work has always been an inspiration to me. May he rest in power and beauty. — Tim Veresnovsky, interior designer

“He came into my life after seeing his work in the pages of Elle Decor in the late ’90s. His straightforward lines, and elegant proportions were a revelation! Liaigre’s rooms were graphic and confident, minimal but not anemic. There was always a sense of place, strong narrative, as well as a feeling of playfulness and of joy.” — Oliver M. Furth, interior designer

“Christian was one of those people who was innately chic. It could not be taught. Everything about him exuded a beautiful restraint and elegance and he made it all look easy. Did he ever misstep aesthetically? If so, I surely never saw it. In a time when chaos reigns, we crave interiors that make us feel calm and balanced. The spaces he created are a wonderful gift.” — Kelly Behun, interior designer

“His interiors inspired a generation of designers, myself included. Everything he created was stunningly understated, but his use of luxurious, natural materials and sense of proportion made his spaces romantic and impactful. I will be forever inspired by his visionary aesthetic.” — Shawn Henderson, interior designer

“He was one of my earliest inspirations of my career and he will be sorely missed. He was a pioneer in his own right and created a look that no one could match—but they all sure did try to.” — Michelle Gerson, interior designer


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