Exclusive Interview With Fabián Pellegrinet Conte

Fabian Pellegrinet Conte, famed furniture designer with over 20 years of experience under his belt, was in town recently to grace the event held by Marquis as they have yet again added another prestigious brand to their mighty stable in Singapore. Dreamhomes took the chance to speak to this delightful designer with a remarkable creativity that holds up against the best in the furniture and interior industry.


Fabián Pellegrinet Conte (right)

Describe a really good day and a really bad day in the life of Fabián Pellegrinet Conte.
A really good day could be to have sun in Paris, having a productive and enjoyable work day, news from family & friends, discover a new wine and a lovely walk in Paris.
A really bad day is finding only unmatched pairs of socks, rain in Paris and discovering that you don’t have an umbrella, struggling for days with a design that doesn’t seem to be working out the way I like it, an empty refrigerator, being out of wine…

What has been your greatest obstacle/challenge?
My greatest challenge has been getting Hamilton Conte and its designs where I want them and to see people to accept, understand and enjoy our style. Along the way, there have been of course many different obstacles : time, peoples motivation to do things the way I imagine them, market factors, etc.

How have you dealt with/overcome it?
There is not a lot of mystery in overcoming things when you’re sure of what you want. It usually just takes a lot of hard work and dedication, but I suppose you have to really convinced on your objective and have a lot of confidence in what you’re doing. You need to believe in your style, way of working and your message.

What inspires your ideas?
Inspiration is one of those ever present things. Living in Paris, I am surrounded by inspiration – fashion design, new product design, pastry design… But I suppose that life inspires me in general. But sometimes ideas come to you at odd times, for example our Fiona chair was inspired during a Paris to Singapore flight a few years ago. I was sitting in my lovely economy seat and remarked how it was nice and high and hugged my back. I suppose a normal person spends their 12 hours on board thinking about how uncomfortable their seat is and trying to sleep, but I actually got out my tape measure and started taking measures on my knees. This had to seem a bit odd to my neighbours and then I starting sketching proportions. So ideas often times come from unexpected sources.

Your designs are a fusion of different eras and styles. How has it been working out with the increasingly-demanding homeowners of today?
You cannot please everyone and I suppose that already if a homeowner is attracted by our style, I think that half the job is already done. You just have to spend time listening to those who enjoy your brand and understand their very functional and practical needs.

Which are your personal favorite pieces of furniture in your collection?
It is perhaps horrible to say, but designs are kind of like children, it is usually bad to have favourites. But also like children, you’re most occupied with the youngest ones that are not yet fully formed, so I tend to be occupied by the young ones.

How would you view the needs of Asian homeowners that differentiate them from their European counterparts?
Needs are usually defined by lifestyle and way of moving around within a space. On either continent, clients need to be aware that our interiors have to be functional. Furniture is at our service and not the other way around. We need it above all to serve a purpose and provide harmony to a sometimes chaotic life. I think the main need of people is to create a harmonious and functional space that resembles them – for me, this is universal across countries and regions. After that, climactic factors and culture may play a role in our use of materials and our design logic, the first I suppose is a need based & on a certain reality and the second more linked to desire.

Who is your favorite furniture designer if you have to pick one?
I think it is far too difficult to have favourites. Without going back in time though the history of design, I can say that I enjoy current designers like Christian Liaigre, India Mahdavi, Romeo Sozzi of Promemoria, De Cotiis for Ceccotti… They all have a different approach to design but blend materials, textures, colours and forms in a way I appreciate.

What advice would you give to our local aspiring furniture designers?
Absorb what is around you, be conscious of trends and what is going on in the market (without being a slave to them), draw from your own experiences, believe in yourself and persevere.


More about Fabián Pellegrinet Conte

Fabián Pellegrinet Conte is an interior architect and furniture designer. His career spans two continents and over 20 years during which time he has designed and supervised residential, hotel and office projects, and consulted for brands such as Whirlpool Russia and Ideal Standard Italy. He has been presenting furniture collections at Maison & Objet Paris since 2008. In 2009, he cofounded the furniture brand Hamilton Conte – Paris which specializes in exclusive custom made furniture and accessories which may be seen in his on-line furniture and project portfolios.

In his project work, Fabian Pellegrinet Conte cultivates organized eclecticism, working with each client’s individual tastes to create unique and highly personal projects. He is highly influenced by the Americas but retaining European sensibilities. While promoting a contemporary approach to design, he is drawn towards the decades between 1930 and 1970 and especially Scandinavian design of the 1950s and American design of the 1960s. He seeks to marry comfort, function and attention to detail, while creating unique ambiances.


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