In the lobby of the Mercer Hotel in Soho, the ceramic chime of the coffee cup that meets the saucer maintains a consistent chime. Along the way to cappuccino, Charles Zana scans the room and watches the hustle and bustle of the morning. It’s been over a year since the French AD100 architect and interior designer returned to New York. The agenda for this trip makes up for the lost time. A site visit to an up-and-coming restaurant on Crosby Street and a nearby housing project. Before taking off to Bedford, NY, much more sunny LA. However, there are no priorities this morning.
Slide the cup to the edge of the table and Zana pulls the lookbook out of the bag and displays it on the table. Beautifully presented in it are the 60 furniture and lighting designs that make up Charles Xana Mobilier’s first ensemble (half a repeat from the client project, the other half brand new), February 17th. Will be available online and in new showrooms in Paris. Ruede Seine next to his studio.
“It’s the beginning, but it’s not the beginning,” Zana prefaces. “For 30 years I have been designing furniture [for client projects].. Now I’m not talking about the project, I’m just talking about furniture. But if the observation is a teacher, Zana is well prepared. Born in Tunisia and raised in Parisian, the son of an art and design collector, Zana grew up in a family room, accustomed to contemporary works such as Pierre Paulin, Jean Royale and Gae Aulenti. It was his exposure and his ultimate interest in furniture design that led him to pursue architectural studies at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. It has been 30 years since he designed an international housing and hospitality project. “It’s like playing. I’m back to my first love,” he says.
Befitting, in context, it’s the love that a person can do true Thanks to the deliberately tactile palette of furniture and lighting, you can feel everything from hard brushed oak to patina bronze, sleek black marquina marble and travertine, velvet and suede ornaments. “It’s very sensitive, and I love it,” he says of the latter. It reappears throughout the collection’s sofas and stools, adding a captivating depth to the S-shaped Julia sofas and teddy headboards.