La Vie En Rose with Elise Pioch of Maison Balzac
Elise Pioch founded Maison Balzac as an ode to her grandparents, Jeanine and André Balzac, and childhood memories in the South of France. Sentimental yet stylish, the collection of playful scents and delicate objects immediately transports one to another time and place. Below, Elise shares how a touch of colour can captivate the eye and contribute to a unique signature style.
What were you like as a child? Do you come from a creative family?
I was shy and super creative, always making up stories with leaves, ants and mud in the garden. My dad won a poetry price at the age of 18 and my mum makes everything feel warm, welcoming and happy. I guess their taste and innate ability to see beauty in absolutely everything influenced me.
You are originally from France. Do you think your upbringing there has influenced your eye for design?
I continuously hear, “You are so French!” so it looks like I have absorbed my Frenchness very deeply. I didn’t realise that until I exported myself away from my birth country! I definitely have a French eye.
You are known as a real advocate for craftsmanship, working with makers and perfumiers from around the world. Why is it important to you for people to invest in quality, timeless pieces?
I love the idea that the hand or nose of a maker stays visible in the final product. You only achieve this if you work with a crafts(wo)man who literally throws their skills, passion and time into each object.
Like our rugs, Maison Balzac is very much driven by the materials and the techniques. What have you been experimenting with lately?
At the moment we are experimenting with a drink that would match a scent, it is fascinating to build bridges between senses and perception. It is called synaesthesia and it’s at the heart of everything we create.
Let’s talk colour! Maison Balzac has the most beautiful array of coloured glassware. Are there any hues that you are personally drawn to? Are you into tonal or contrasting palettes?
Thanks to our glassware I wanted to encourage people to see life in shades of pink, blue or green. I love the French expression “la vie en rose”, where you see the world through rose tinted glasses. I am personally obsessed with green and lavender at the moment… and I love mixing colours within a theme.
Do you think colour has an impact on our mood, energy and emotions?
Absolutely! It is said that if you wish to reduce your appetite you should paint your kitchen green… and shades of pink encourage happiness. The science of colour is real and can be used as a tool to feel better or to give energy.
How do you think the addition of a small burst of colour can completely transform a room?
I find that when our eyes travel, they pick up on small things and big things in equal part. If there is even the tiniest burst of colour in a corner, it will balance the entire room. So this small thing is as important as the big one.
Do you have any tips on injecting colour throughout the home in a way that will defy trends and have longevity?
When it comes to decoration, I think that the key is to find objects that talk to your heart or tell a story about you and your family. If you follow this rule, everything will remain timeless and relevant to you, creating a unique signature style against all trends.
" I wanted to encourage people to see life in shades of pink, blue or green."
Tell us what your own home is like – how would you describe the décor?
I am transitioning homes at the moment, from an 1880’s country house in the south of France to a water access-only 1950’s wooden boathouse in northern Sydney. They sound very different but once we have brought our own personal favourite pieces into our new Sydney home, it will have the same feel as the French one. I love the idea of carrying over key pieces in order to feel at home right away.
At the end of the day, do you have any rituals to help you wind down?
It is very difficult for me to wind down; I am continuously thinking of new ideas and new products. My brain never stops. A house by the water should help me focus on the serene natural surroundings. I imagine I will light some incense and look out of the window and watch the clouds pass by…for 5 minutes and then who knows!
What is keeping you creatively stimulated right now?
Everything is creative material to me so I always keep my eyes open, take photos, imagine stories and write them down in my notebook.
Finally, we can’t help but ask – what’s your favourite rug from our new Colour Play collection?
I have fallen in love with two rugs from your new collection: the Malawi in Saffron and in Amber. I love how they would brighten up any room; their presence would be warm and calming. I am definitely getting one of them!
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Enter our Colour Play giveaway for a chance to win a colour-infused home refresh, including an Armadillo rug and a set of Maison Balzac glassware.
Portrait creative direction by Sandy Dao and photography by Kristina Soljo.
Campaign creative direction by Sando Dao and photography by Dave Wheeler.