Every year, the Paris fair Maison & Objet highlights a designer for their unparalleled talent and expertise. At the recent January edition, that honour fell to Raphaël Navot, who follows a clear creative vision in everything he does in which independence is a key criterion.
Navot was born in Jerusalem, studied in Eindhoven and, after moving to Paris, immersed himself in design and interior architecture. His portfolio is very varied: hotel interiors, such as that of the Hôtel Belle Plage in Cannes, commercial product designs and a furniture line consisting of sofas, tables, rugs and lamps for Roche Bobois are just some of his achievements. One of the highlights of his career is undoubtedly the interior design of the Hôtel National des Arts et Métiers in 2017, a project that combines many of the design aspects that are important to him. One thing was crucial to achieving that beautiful result, and that was a smooth collaboration between independent partners. ‘It makes for balanced and exciting projects,’ we hear. That independence is essential, as it provides the flexibility he needs. ‘I prefer the idea that each partner is responsible for their part. It somehow makes the process more awakened.’ According to the designer, all his projects convey the same values. Each time, he searches for the perfect way to combine a love of natural materials and traditional techniques with a contemporary, timeless form. This timelessness is a requirement, as he believes interiors should look as though they have always been around. He achieves this by seeking depth in everything. For instance, Navot likes to use materials with thickness and colours that he finds in those materials. He does not look for inspiration in trends, but rather in psychology and science in general. Nature and the knowledge of craftsmen are another great source of knowledge. The designer describes his academic training as a form of design philosophy. ‘Learning to ask the right questions and clarify intent is more valuable to me than trying to achieve a visual goal with conviction,’ he says.
'Interiors should look as though they have always been around'
At Maison & Objet, he unveiled 'Apothem Lounge', a design he developed especially for the fair. The large circular room makes its guests experience interiors regardless of functionality or context and creates a certain mood. With the installation of light and textures, he mainly wanted to portray a visual emotion. The circular hall has an open architectural structure, reminiscent of a simplified maze that allows both freedom and intimacy. It is clear that the guest is at the heart of each of Raphaël Navot's projects. In the future, he wants to focus solely on hospitality, although he sees it very broadly. Restaurants, art, bookstores or a hotel: the most important thing is that it is a place where people come together. ‘Everything is about the experience I sell them,’ he concludes.
Header image: photography by Christophe Coenon (Hotel Belle Plage)
Images 1 - 4: photography by Yann Deret (Le 39V)
Images 5 - 6: photography by Christophe Coenon (Hotel Belle Plage)
Images 7 - 9: photography by Jérôme Galland (Hotel National)