Monday evening, the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) welcomed Thierry Despont. This French architect and designer has worked on a range of projects, including the restoration of the Statue of Liberty, Polo Ralph Lauren‘s flagship store on London’s Bond Street, homes in Bridgehampton, Montauk, Palm Beach, Martha’s Vineyard and The Bahamas and The Getty Center in Los Angeles, among many others.
Starting with one of the icons of New York City, Mr. Despont spoke of his time working on the restoration of the Statue of Liberty fondly, recalling how it was “truly a great honor. [And,] as a French architect – it was a dream.”
Speaking of a dream, Despont worked on the former Montauk home of the Arm & Hammer baking soda family, later turned home of Andy Warhol and later home to J. Crew‘s Mickey Drexler.
“Architecture for me is a continuum. I like to do the whole house.”
Despont emphasized how magnificent this home’s location was – set right on the ocean.
With opportunities to work on projects such as these, it is not too surprising that Despont does not stick to only designing the exterior of a structure.
“Architecture for me is a continuum,” Despont noted. “It’s like an art installation. I like to do the whole house.”
Take a look at the property on 53 West 53rd Street in New York City, which has views of Central Park.
Despont worked on the interior design that, due to the exterior design, he prototyped in a Brooklyn warehouse to ensure he could fully envision where each beam would fall, among other attributes of the structure.
On working on Ralph Lauren‘s Polo flagship in London, Despont pointed out that “Ralph needed to do something that hadn’t existed. He didn’t want a faux English mansion.”
Despont also touched on one of his most recent works, which is still being completed – the renovation of The Ritz, in Paris.
“Everyone has heard of it. [There are] stories of Ernest Hemingway to Coco Chanel,” highlighted Despont.
“Find what you really like and do it.”
From The Ritz in Paris to many homes in The Hamptons to structures in our own backyard in New York City, you can be certain we are going to keep an eye out for Despont designs.
And, we will leave you with some advice Despont shared, “Find what you really like and do it.”
Although the spring season of FIAF’s Creative Leaders Series has come to an end, you can visit fiaf.org for other upcoming events.
Additionally, connect with Despont at despont.com.