Jean-Pierre Tortil, the global creative director of luxury carpet house Tai Ping, tells us how he draws inspiration from modern architecture, why he loves Austrian writer Robert Musil, and how he incorporates the dynamism of Shanghai.
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I am very connected to architecture and among the many architects whose work I admire—such as Adolphe Loos, Carlo Scarpa, Isaye Weinfield, IM Pei and Rem Koolhaas—I would pick the Prostho Museum Research Centre, designed by Kengo Kuma.
Honouring the Japanese tradition, Kuma has a unique way of designing and constructing with wood, but with a very distinctive vision turned to the future.
I love the elegance and comfort of the Park Hyatt and Four Seasons hotels. However, I also like boutique hotels such as La Suite West in London, which was designed by Anoushka Hempel and is very charming, minimalistic and discreet.
For a break, I head to Hameau des Baux in Provence. It’s a former village that has been turned into a concept hotel so the rooms are in various buildings throughout the vast complex. The owner is an antique dealer so all the rooms feature a nice selection of vintage furniture and accessories.
Favourite area at home?
It depends on the time of the day but I would say our drawing room—it’s an open space with high ceilings so it’s a great space to eat, work and relax. I love having lots of space around me.
I am very interested in contemporary art. My sensibility may go from Fischli & Weiss, with their dualistic multimedia work interrogating Western culture, to the Vietnamese-born Danish performance art-inspired conceptual artist Danh Vô, who questions his personal experience as well as exploring broader historical, social and political themes.
I also love photography, and one of my favourite photographers is Utah Barth, who was a source of inspiration for our upcoming 2017 hand-knotted collection, named Blur.
There is this tiny restaurant in Paris called Les Enfants Rouge. The chef is Japanese and cooks French food with a Japanese twist—the food is amazing. It’s fully booked at all times so we always have to plan ahead and make a reservation. And my friend Bonnae Gokson’s restaurant Sevva, which has a great view of Hong Kong’s harbour and where the food is always good.
So many amazing museums all over the world but I will first pick El Prado in Madrid, definitely one of my favourite places. It gathers an amazing number of breath-taking masterpieces of the history of art in one place.
Also, PS1 in New York is definitely a place where I love to stop by anytime I am in the city. The cutting-edge point of view and positioning of this museum and gallery always presents a broad array of contemporary artistic, political and social movements.
There are many cities that I love for different reasons but Shanghai in particular because it’s an energetic city where the worlds of business, fashion and art mix together. It never stops changing for the best and that’s very inspiring. Another city is Los Angeles—it is a sophisticated place with an artsy-cool vibe to it.
For many years, one of my favourite books has been The Man Without Qualities, an unfinished novel by Robert Musil, an Austrian writer.
Written during a period of two decades in the period before World War II, the novel features a new type of character whose values and beliefs are explored between digressions into philosophy and social issues.
This article appears in the Winter 2016 issue of Hong Kong Tatler Homes.
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