Nicolas Roux is a French-born designer and entrepreneur. He brings over 15 years’ experience with some of the best studios, including Candy & Candy and Terence Conran. After creating and delivering projects all over the globe, he’s back where he feels most inspired, in London. This is where it all begins for Rive Gauche and where Nicolas’ vision for first-class design and delivery takes flight.
Who inspired your passion for materials and craftsmanship?
From a young age, I was inspired by my Father who was a Master Carpenter and Joiner. I spent time with him in his workshop, learning joinery, watching him work the material. I can still remember the smell of freshly sanded timber. I quickly discovered that it takes extreme skill and a deep-rooted understanding of the material to realise a piece of furniture. It’s a very fascinating process and my relationship and respect for craftsmanship continues to grow. I believe it’s a passion that’s passed from generation to generation.
Why is nature such a powerful source of inspiration?
My childhood was spent in the French countryside so I’ve always had a special relationship with nature and the outdoors. The palette of textures, colours and emotions can be a raw and unique experience. You can craft an entire vision around the smallest detail in nature. By bringing together a range of materials that are natural, warm, tactile and textured, I try to achieve the same simplicity and emotion through my interior design.
How do you balance project management with interior design?
I have always believed it was important to truly understand and take ownership of both disciplines. You cannot design if you do not understand how thing are built, and you cannot manage a project if you do not have leadership, vision and an eye for design. I take forward a lot of good building experience, including a few years with Bouygues Construction, a top ten global construction company.
What role does the client play in the design process?
I think it’s important for a client to emotionally connect with the design. The client is the centrepiece of this process. We are designing something considered to be one of the most personal and precious things, the client’s home. Engagement, ideas, suggestions and influences from the client fuel our ability and creativity to reach a unique language. I get to know the client’s aspiration, personality and lifestyle. I discover the stories behind the building and location’s natural landscape, architecture, culture, traditions and history. Bringing all these qualities together is where it all starts. Design must be a pleasurable experience for the client so we work hard take away all the stress. We ensure the client is in a position to enjoy every moment.
Before Rive Gauche, what was your professional experience?
Over the last 15 years, I’ve designed and delivered world-class projects, including One Hyde Park in Knightsbridge, London. My work covers a broad range, from luxury private residences and residential developments, to fashion retailers and boutique hotels. Typically, the project can be anything in size, from small homes to a development in excess of £100 million. My work internationally has also given me an even deeper understanding of how design works for different people across cultures. This is something I’ve been fortunate to develop with globally renowned interior designers Candy & Candy, and Terence Conran.
You’ve worked around the world. Why London for Rive Gauche?
When I initially moved to London I thought I would stay for one year, but the City has a special allure. I love the open spaces, the green parks and the great architecture and restaurants. I have been here ever since and I’ve never looked back. London is a world-class business hub and a strong magnet for real estate investment and development. Many of my clients travel frequently so it’s the natural destination to meet and do business. I‘m also connected to a wonderful network of the best British craftspeople, the perfect support when you’re crafting a particular project style.
Does the Rive Gauche name pay homage to your French roots?
Indeed. I am French and for me it was important that the name reflected my identity. Rive Gauche is the name of the South Bank of the River Seine in Paris. Creatives, writers and artists like Arthur Rimbaud, Henri Matisse and Ernest Hemingway use to go there and meet likeminded people to share ideas and challenge convention. I spent lots of time there so it’s left a strong impression on me and my work.
What can clients expect from working with Rive Gauche?
Working alongside my Father has been a huge influence. I think he instilled a strong work ethic, dedication and a passion for your craft. To him, client satisfaction was priority. Existing clients would call him 10 years after he made a door because the handle was loose. He would fix it the next day. This sense of pride and passion for craft is something I’ve carried forward. At Rive Gauche, we make the client journey golden. It’s always a partnership built on trust and collaboration, integrity and transparency. Our services reflect these qualities and helps Rive Gauche establish a solid platform to deliver expertise across the complete design process, from consultation and drawings, to completion.
What ambitions and aspirations await the Rive Gauche brand?
I want the company to be known and recognised for its creativity, dedication and ability to deliver visionary projects of the highest quality. It will be known as the real estate partner of choice for clients wishing to invest, develop or maintain their assets. We have a handpicked network of specialist professionals who share our values and pride in reputation. This means Rive Gauche can continue to grow in the UK and build its reputation across Europe and internationally.