19 November 2016

Francois Catroux the designer, the book

A new book that spans five decades of work by legendary designer Francois Catroux has just been published this fall by Rizzoli. Written by the erudite David Netto, his equally erudite subject Catroux has designed some of the most sophisticated rooms over those decades. Catroux's work, all of his work, from the earliest, less featured in the book, to his current, is strong and meaningful, with a whisper of serenity present in each as well. A difficult balance to maintain, but as Catroux is a master—it's the dynamic most present in all his work.

Netto draws an arc from Catroux's elegant persona to his elegant rooms in an engrossing introduction. Catroux's rooms are as sleek as his wife Betty Catroux, if anything his rooms echo her, and rarely deviatiate from that chic—which must be proof of their devotion to each other.

Catroux in Hong Kong 2009
top photograph and above by Marianne Hass

Catroux comments on each room in the book—doing so with equal parts self-deprecation & admiration, and as a reader, we are drawn into the conversation between author and subject. Catroux is considered an original, never copying. His work does carry strong markers—they are all his own, laid down from many years of working with his clients.

Francois Catroux by David Netto, Rizzoli New York, 2016.

The author David Netto, photographed by Ron Hamad

Even Francois Catroux's most opulent rooms are refined, reserved even. 

This apartment in New York Catroux designed in 1990—over 25 years ago, is steeped in world-class art and a modern edge that harkens back to the nineteenth century. Completely of the moment.
It's my favorite.

photographs above and below are by Francois Halard

In two of Catroux's rooms, a sculpture of the god Atlas is present. He cites the most valuable piece in the room of a 2004 Paris apartment as being a sixteenth century Augsburg Atlas in vermeil. The other Atlas is in his own Paris apartment, a gift from his close friend and client Helene Rochas. It's a bold bronze. Symbolic, like Atlas, Catroux's work is powerful but like each of these sculptures it can be grand with a flourish, or it can just be grand. His work is undisputedly so—like this the first book of his work where it is apparent author and subject are of one mind. Discernment makes for great decoration and great reading.

The images were provided by Rizzoli and used with their permission


  1. Good Early Morning MS. Augury, Just sent the last book review on a subject that has always captured by dear sister Constance's interest on a Rosamond Bernier. She has just returned from Asia where she has a beautiful home. But has lived in Asia and the Middle East for a long time. This latest review of David Netto and Frances Catroux will find her interest spiked. She had a gorgeous custom built home, and the rooms were photographed for several spreads in different magazines. She is to me very beautiful individual and has a definite style and sense of color/textures that made her homes elegant. She is very quiet, prefers to remain in seclusion with her professor husband.
    Where does the interest into this subject of great homes and interior decorating evolve? From what I understand, museums, theater, costume, and as children - early introduction in history and classic literature-France-Sweden-Russia, fairy tales, folk lore, genre of differing authors and their periods of writing???
    We live in a rural area, the beauty is in the natural world, and reading from Inter library loans at the Universities. Your writing is always delicious like a good cup of tea and a crumb cake as my brother in law use to say. The bakeries in Clayton MO, were e bite of heaven. Here bakeries are non existent so to speak. Though we have beautiful old Southern homes. atk

  2. I hope to get this book for Christmas, such an interesting asssortment -what a CAREER!



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