By: Deborah L. Martin
Photography: Costas Picadas
From Biarritz via Malibu to New York, Valerie Pasquiou brings her unique multicultural sensibility to everything she touches!
Designer and interior architect Valerie Pasquiou loves New York. “The minute I set foot here I knew I could start breathing again.” Originally from Biarritz in the French Basque country, Pasquiou studied art and advertising in Bordeaux, and then came to the United States when she was 22 years old. “When I finished my studies I moved to Los Angeles and a mentor encouraged me to do set design. I did that for many years, and then progressed to interior design and interior architecture.” After 16 years on the West Coast, she needed a change. “I’m an ocean person, so I surfed and had a great quality of life. But it became boring and I wanted more cultural diversity.”
Pasquiou’s firm, Valerie Pasquiou Interiors & Design in TriBeCa, handles high-profile clients (her first was KD Lang) and projects all over the world. In addition, along with two friends, she started a company called Atelier d’Amis, with two furniture lines being carried at Jean de Merry in the D&D building, as well as in Dallas, Chicago, and LA, with a third line in development now. The designer is also working on projects in Switzerland, Connecticut, and New York, and she notes the differences between working with clients in the United States and Europe. “Over there, people are more relaxed. It’s more spontaneous. They hire you to redo a space, but when it comes to the interiors they want to do for themselves, using a mix of inherited pieces and new. If we do an interior the client is very involved.”
In her own flat, Pasquiou’s European aesthetic is perfectly at home in a distinctly New York space. Located on one of the city’s oldest streets in the Financial District, it is part romantic Left Bank artist’s garret, part edgy-yet-zen urban loft. The sun pours in through industrial cast-iron windows, and the view over the rooftops of neighboring buildings feels intimate and expansive at the same time. “For me, my own space has to feel personal and very layered. When I find a piece that I have a crush on, I bring it in. Every single piece has a story behind it.”
As for the future, this transatlantic designer is here to stay. Last year she became a proud United States citizen, although she acknowledges the uncertainty of the current political atmosphere, especially when it comes to women’s and LGBTQ rights. With a touch of delicious French irony she adds, “My case was delayed for about six months, but I finally got my letter the day after Election Day.”