Anne Derasse: The Hidden Faces of a Designer and Fervent Advocate for Heritage
Anne Derasse cherishes places filled with history, heritage, know-how and high-end craftmanship, like the “Chartreuse” of Calon Ségur she renovated. Here, TLmag catches up with the interior designer and art historian.
Anne Derasse has many strings to her bow in AANN (Architecture d’intérieur – Arts & Patrimoine), her agency. Constantly shifting back and forth between Belgium and France, she has built up a network as an interior designer and art historian for the last 30 years. In all her projects – both personal, such as the château de Montmoreau in Charentes-Sud or the Ancienne Nonciature in Brussels’ Grand Sablon, and for her institutional and private clients, which recently included the château Calon-Ségur – Anne makes it a point of honour to include a wealth of enthusiasm and generosity in the design.
TLmag: How do you view the immense worksite of the Calon-Ségur Chartreuse (manor house) that has taken up four years of your life as an art historian and interior designer?
Anne Derasse (AD): The property absolutely overpowered me. Calon-Ségur is a pearl that has created its own setting. It epitomises everything I love: an ineffable beauty, a heritage jewel in symbiosis with its remarkable backdrop, a concentration of expertise that promises a rich human adventure. And all the impressions from my first visit have been fulfilled; I have met wonderful people to whom I owe an immense debt of gratitude for entrusting this project to me: Jean-Pierre Denis, president of the Crédit mutuel Arkéa group, the owner, and Laurent Dufau and Vincent Millet, manager and direction of operations, respectively, of Calon-Ségur. Their abilities and vision are exceptional. The adventure was, of course, shared with Alain de La Ville, the architect of the property for the last 30 years, who recommended me for the interior design, and who shares my values regarding heritage restoration. Several agencies were consulted, to find the one that would best meet the expectations of the principals; I was delighted that my agency was selected.
TLmag: After experiencing such as project as a real voyage through time and space, what are your aspirations for your next adventure?
AD: Nothing terribly exotic… I like things that endure. I want to continue in the same vein, each time identifying the essence of a place and trying to extract its quintessence, always getting to the bottom of things, unremittingly, with time on my side. This is becoming anachronistic in our current era, which demands speed, fragmentation and interchangeability. We need to be able to escape this sometimes-mind-numbing frenzy, caused by technology that wrongly eliminates time and space, while remaining present in this world.
TLmag: It is difficult to step back and plunge into one’s own design when the past 30 years have been devoted to unusual projects such as the château de Montmoreau and the Nonciature in Brussels’ Grand Sablon. Do you want to take that space today to plunge yourself into your own “work”, that of a designer who could finally take the opportunity to think about herself and of an art and design collection on a human scale?
AD: Yes, it’s true I have always focussed my attention on my clients’ projects, for my greatest happiness, leaving my personal projects for the evenings, weekends, holidays. But I should work on them full time! I have to say it is also difficult to design for oneself, because there is a constant sense of dissatisfaction, which pushes you to always go farther… In terms of a collection of objects, my friends often ask me why I don’t edit my designs; I have never felt like a ‘designer’ and I don’t really like that term. I have always designed my furniture based on my projects, as part of a whole, of a universe, and also because I could not find existing furniture that suited me, despite the plethora of available models.The challenge will be creating furniture that can fit into other interiors.
TLmag: What would you like to accomplish in the next 10 years? It’s not an easy question but I imagine that you have thought about various professional and personal scenarios?
AD: In my personal life, I hope to remain with my companion, Jörg Bräuer, each of us developing our own artistic projects, which so beautifully interlock, while also continuing with our joint projects. I greatly admire the depth of his research, which is then expressed in photographic and pictorial works; they resonate with the universe of my projects. We have a similarity of thinking in our philosophies of life and our artistic approaches. On the professional level, I hope to continue to focus on complete projects in which interior design, decorating, and the selection of art works and decorative arts are all one.I am part of a continuity, I like what is solid: the history that lets you understand and magnify the present, and the roots that enable you to take wing.
TLmag:Finally, of all the projects that you have taken on since you got started, which one has been the most important to you; the one you would like to passion to future generations? And if not one, which ones, because your approach has always been plural
AD: I don’t know what will happen to the projects I have realised for my clients; I do not claim that they will last for decades! In fact, interior design should be dynamic. I have loved all of the projects I have worked on: from the beauty salons around the world 20 years ago for L’Oréal’s luxury brands, to the Crazy Horse, and passing through the houses of some amazing people. Calon-Ségur absolutely fascinated me, in its intrinsic beauty and the calibre of its men. Every new project is a challenge; I like to start from point zero, wondering what I am going to do. And then, plunge into the study and the design, as, bit by bit, things take shape: each time, it’s a captivating, rekindled creative process.
In terms of my personal projects, I would like the Ancienne Nonciature and the château de Montmoreau to last, in memory of renowned gallery owner and art expert Willy d’Huysser, who breathed life into the premises of these two projects with me. Now, I am very pleased to continue these projects with Jörg, who also fell under the spell of the sites. We want to create a foundation for heritage preservation and the promotion of art in its different forms. I would like to instil a desire to always look for beauty and to constantly push oneself beyond one’s limits, as well as instilling in young people a taste for history and an expertise to pass on.
Starting in spring 2020, Anne Derasse will collaborate with Spazio Nobile gallery in Brussels on an exhibition of her furniture at the Nonciature and the château de Montmoreau, as well as at the gallery and a selection of Belgian and international trade shows. This unveiling of her capabilities as a designer will finally give Anne the opportunity to devote herself to and to transform her two “hotspots’ into a cultural and artistic “momentum”, shared with an audience of art and design lovers, for the period of the exhibition. Her companion, Jörg Bräuer, has been exhibiting at Spazio Nobile since 2016 (Season II-Forest of Lights). His next solo show at the gallery runs from 10 January to 8 March 2020, and will thus be an integral part of Anne Derasse’s new adventure – which is embodied in the continuity of the restoration and renovation of these two beautiful and historic sites.