Jean Royère (1929 — 1981)
Referred to as “one of the most audacious, free-spirited decorators of the twentieth century,” Jean Royère was historically supported by an alluring international clientele, and continues to be sought after by the most prestigious collections. World traveler, polyglot and avant-garde visionary Jean Royère is one of the biggest names in French mid-century design. He was fascinated by different materials, such as raffia and zebrawood, and aesthetics from around the world, from Scandinavian modernism to the traditions of the Middle East. Owing to this venturesome spirit, Royère produced an eclectic body of work that truly doesn’t fit a singular style.
The French designer turned his playful creations into a serious business, winning admirers who have ranged from Middle Eastern royalty to American celebrities. “In the 1950s, Jean Royère designed pieces that embodied both his own emerging style and the joie de vivre of the post-war period — ”
Born in Paris, Royère studied classics at Cambridge University and then worked for an import-export company. In 1931, he switched gears to design, studying cabinet making in the workshops of Faubourg Saint-Antoine and furniture making under the tutelage of Pierre Gouffé. He made his debut in interior design in 1934 when he won a design contest for the brasserie in the Hotel Carlton on the Champs-Élysées.
During the 1950s, Jean Royère, benefiting from an international reputation, developed his activity in the Maghreb as well as in the Middle East. In 1946, he opened an office in Cairo, Egypt, and the following year, an agency in Beirut, Lebanon, which enabled him to extend his influence to the farthest reaches of the Middle East: from Syria to Jordan, Saudi Arabia to Iran. Private and public commissions by royalty and celebrities alike, followed one after another.