The Interiors Monologues - Paul Fortune
The greatest designers of the century talk about Interiors: The Greatest Rooms of the Century
Born in London, Paul Fortune went to LA for two weeks in 1978, having thoroughly checked out the punk scenes in his birthplace and also New York. Like so many Brits, he liked the place so much he never went home. He started out by designing album covers, then art-directing music videos, graduating from nightclub owner to film art director, then to interior designer and journalist.
Laurel Canyon, Fortune’s home in Los Angeles, which he lived in for 30 years until 2013, was full of Old Hollywood charm. He called it “a long-running experiment in design.” Stylewise, the home referred to art deco without being deferential, precious, or too hung-up on itself. Fortune updated it to create something timeless and elegant, but always relaxed and comfortable. “I don’t like things too tight and controlled,” he says, likening interior design to editing - “taking something good and making it better.”
The living room in his Laurel Canyon house featured a balcony with a dramatic wrought-iron bannister, complemented by classics such as Paul McCobb dining-room chairs, a sleek, streamlined table, and a soft, comfortable sofa designed by Fortune himself. Tones were calming caramel, butterscotch, and marshmallow pink.
His clients currently include Marc Jacobs, whose Paris apartment he designed, and he also refurbished the Sunset Tower Hotel in Hollywood. Laurel Canyon was sold with all decor and furnishings intact. It's featured alongside 400 exquisite interiors in our new book Interiors: The Greatest Rooms of the Century.
We asked Paul about the interior in our book that inspired him the most; what it means to be featured in Interiors: The Greatest Rooms of the Century and about the most important aspect of a room that aesthetically-minded buyers of the book can focus on. And, of course, we obviously had to ask him where in his own home he'll be placing his personal copy.
He told us that he thought Yves St. Laurent, whose house in Marrakech features in Interiors, was "extraordinary".
" The level of it all; the art, rugs, furniture, objets - it was all superb. You could never do that again. There was alchemy in those rooms." And he chuckled when we asked how it felt to be included in a book subtitled The Greatest Rooms of the Century. "I’m unsure what century we are talking about? If it’s the 20th then I’m very honored to be in the company of such greats . If it’s the 21st - well there’s not much competition is there!"
Asked what he felt was the most important aspect of an interior, the one thing everyone should try their hardest to get right he said: "Lighting - it’s vital and SO abused."
Oversized and available in four collectable velvet covers to decorate any space in style, we wondered what color cover of Interiors: The Greatest Rooms of the Century Paul will choose and where he'll exhibit it in his own home.
"By my bedside. It’s fun to pick up and browse before sleep and then dream of those rooms. For some reason the yellow is calling me which is unusual for me. What can I say? You have to leave yourself open for change and surprise."
Take a look for yourself and choose your own version of Interiors: The Greatest Rooms of the Century here. And check back in the coming days for our next interview with a designer from the book. Meanwhile, you can see more of Paul Fortune's beautiful and eclectic interior design work on his website.