With a recent move to a dazzling sixth-floor space in L.A.’s Pacific Design Center and a new launch of LED-focused lighting and updated furniture—the most modern collection to date—partners Christian Darnaud-Maroselli and Jean de Merry of the namesake line Jean de Merry describe their trend-defying commitment to artistry and handicraft.
You two founded Jean de Merry in 2001 with the mission of upholding age-old French techniques and translating them to a new generation of American craft— “heirlooms of the future,” as you say. What’s changed in the past 18 years?
JDM: We started our business by importing antiques from Europe, but our own interest about what we wanted to do in the design industry shifted. We gradually became more interested in designing what we wanted to live with. The philosophy was very simple: ‘Let’s do what we like and we will see what happens.’ That has’t changed. We don’t follow trends or make what the market says will sell. And what keeps our relationship strong are quite a few arguments the French way and a lot of love for each other.
What's changed in L.A.'s design scene over the years you've lived and worked here?
CDM: The designers then were looking for reproductions with an European flavor: Victorian, Spanish, Louis Philippe style. But access to the Internet in the 2000s changed everything. People started to learn more about other aesthetics and design movements. Today, L.A.’s creative scene is as important as New York’s.
What’s new for the JDM line in 2019?
CDM: Our new lighting collection will be using more LEDs and will have a more modern feel to it, and in the fall we will be introducing a new capsule collection by Dylan Farrell [called] Oceana. We’ve also recently discovered an L.A-based Japanese glassmaker, and we’re going to collaborate on lighting and some unusual decorative pieces.
How do you see the JDM brand continuing to evolve?
JDM: We definitely want to find more ways to collaborate with younger artisans and makers.