Lighting designer Marie-Lise Féry is no stranger to the transformative abilities of colour, craftmanship, and a little bit of magic. In her newly redecorated home, richly pigmented Farrow & Ball paint provides the perfect backdrop for her imaginative pieces, creating rooms that are both playful and luxurious.
We caught up with Marie-Lise to find out more about the story behind her brand, her inspirations, and her colour journey with Farrow & Ball.
How did you start creating your brand? Can you tell us more about your style and what you want to offer to people?
For me, creation is everywhere – it is first inside you before it emerges. I founded Magic Circus in 2015, but before that, I created A Castle in Spain where there was, in this gallery of antiques, a creative space dedicated to staging. I arranged the objects as one plays with words to tell extraordinary stories: that is the whole story of this gallery! It then became the story of Magic Circus, through the games of staging.
Even today, as a designer, I like to have playful stories around my creations. I like to play with them and have fun reinventing them. On all my photo projects, I have the great privilege of working with the artist-photographer Pierrick Verny.
In conclusion, I like to create theatrical lighting, to tell stories, so that people can marvel, dream, imagine and have fun, in their turn, reinventing them.
Where do you find inspiration for new collections?
I draw my inspiration from everywhere! More concretely by keeping my eyes wide open to the world (urban architecture, art, cinema, society, people, travel, everything!) For example, I started to draw my first lamps in front of a silent film from the 1930s!
When I think of an idea, of a particular creation, I think of an imaginary way of life, where, in this case, the lamp would have a functional and aesthetic but also idealistic duality. I imagine scenarios where the object takes possession of the space through its poetic and physical presence.
I like to play on the balance and lightness of sometimes oversized lamps to make them theatrical, playful, or magical – in any case, unexpected. I like my creations to provoke surprise.
Today it is the artist Giorgio de Chirico who inspires me. I have been transported by his whimsical and dreamlike world that transposes reality beyond the usual logic.
We love your mother’s motto that “objects with a soul will always belong”. How does this inform the way you choose pieces and other design elements?
I share this idea, of course, but I also believe that the soul of an object comes from a very subjective idea. This is why an object that speaks to us, that speaks to our soul, will always have a privileged place.
Colour seems to play a vital role in your work and universe – what are some of the ways in which you like to use it?
Colour has a real power over our subconscious and can change our behaviour. For example, red attracts the eye and arouses desire; pink is a romantic colour, the colour of optimism and happiness.
Coming back to my work as a designer, colour is much more present in my work today than it was in the past. Colour allows me to develop a new language, more intense and certainly more incisive, both through my creations and through the different settings used for the shooting of my creations.
You have been using Farrow & Ball colours for a long time now. What is it you particularly like about the brand and the product?
I work with Farrow & Ball on all our photo and decorative projects because of the brand’s artisanal approach to colour advice and the colours that come from its heritage.
The selection of colours you did for your own home has been really bold. What did you wish to achieve at the beginning of the project?
I wanted to give this house a dramatical and joyful atmosphere. The painting is definitely part of the decor.
You worked with our South-East sales representative, Annie Duchesne, to select all the colours. How did you work together and how did she help you?
For the colour advice, I worked with Annie Duchesne. The colour that I have happily introduced into my home is a sensitive and emotional one. Colour is a force because it expresses the main psychic functions of the being: thought, feeling, intuition, and sensation. In my work, as in my life, I like to feel but also to provoke emotions.
Celadon shades, including Cromarty, were used as the colour base for the project. Warmer, more intense shades were chosen for the masterful west-facing entrance in response to the light of a setting sun – with Preference Red and Blazer.
Now that your redecoration is complete, do you have a particular favourite room or colour?
The kitchen, because it is a place where everyone meets and talks freely.