Both Emil Humbert and Christophe Poyet, founders of their eponymous Monte Carlo, Monaco-based architecture and design studio, were influenced by their grandparents’ magical homes.
For the Paris-raised Humbert, it was his grandmother’s rambling 19th-century summer abode in Uzès, in the South of France, that left a vivid impression. “She bought it to receive as many friends as possible. I was fascinated by all the people strolling around in this beautiful setting,” he recalls. Poyet, a native of Monaco, was drawn in by his grandmother’s large Italian kitchen, where he watched her cook amid “the old, irregular terrazzo floor, the flowery ceramic backsplash, and the scent of fermenting yeast,” he says.
This kind of synergy has fueled the duo since 2008. They tackle all projects together, whether it’s one of multiple Beefbar restaurants (the retro-inspired Milan location is the newest); the Josun Palace hotel in Seoul, part of Marriott’s Luxury Collection; or the rippled Théodore armchair for the Invisible Collection.
Both Humbert and Poyet share a passion for the natural world, Art Deco, and modernism, and are riveted by the oeuvres of Jean-Michel Frank, Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann, and Gio Ponti, who Humbert describes as “a humanist and a genius. He had a unique and joyful vision of the world.” Indeed, the Humbert & Poyet style is marked by a flamboyance that melds various materials and textures. It “expresses joie de vivre and doesn’t shy away from anything,” points out Humbert. Details are important, adds Poyet, noting how he and Humbert might showcase marble “in three different ways—smooth, rough, and bush-hammered—to juxtapose the tactile properties and shiny and matte effects.”
It’s a sensibility that translates to products as much as interiors. Take Humbert & Poyet’s Polar chandelier for the French wrought-iron atelier Pouenat, distinguished by a perforated plaster shade, or the Villa Riviera range of indoor-outdoor furniture and fabrics for Nobilis that conjure a 20th-century French Riviera. “We focused on graphic prints—scrolls, arcs, stripes—and varied them in a palette of saffron, Mediterranean blue, rust, almond green, gray, and white,” says Poyet. “We wanted a colorful, cheerful collection evocative of fruit and flowers—something from our South.”
This article originally appeared in HD’s October 2023 issue.