Artistic Director at the be-poles studio, Diane de Noyelle, always wanted to work in a creative industry. Her job at be-poles – one of Paris and New York’s most sought-after design agencies – allows her to do just that. We chatted to Diane to discover more about her career, her favourite brands and where to eat, shop and find culture in her hometown, Paris.
Q: Hi Diane, where are you from and what do you do?
A: I have been living in Paris for nearly 20 years after living in Switzerland and Haute-Savoie. I am an artistic director at be-poles studio.
Q: What does being an art director involve?
A: We design brand identities. We immerse ourselves within the history of a brand and its founders etc. and translate that into something visual. We work on the image of the brand, but we attach a particular importance to the story. At be-poles we think of our role as that of ‘narrative designers’.
Q: Did you always want to be an art director?
A: I always knew that I wanted to do something artistic, within a creative profession. When I was younger I wanted to be an architect, and then my interest turned towards the graphic arts. I liked the idea of being able to work in fashion, publishing, on campaigns and brand identities. This job is wonderful, no two days are alike. We try to bring a kind of "functional beauty" to everyday life!
Q: What makes a brand special, in your opinion?
A: Its integrity, its willingness to be different, and to be original. A brand can convey an emotion, a sense of belonging. A brand like Muji fascinates me. A brand with very little branding is brilliant!
Q: How would you define French style?
A: I would say it’s restraint. Both in style and in attitude. A form of sophisticated nonchalance. The French play with a mix of styles, they never do a total look. If we decide to wear something a little wild, we’ll pair it with something sober to tone it down.
Q: Do French women work out? How do they stay healthy?
A: Absolutely, I feel they do more and more. There are gyms springing up in Paris all the time, like S.D.S. Madeleine or the Klay, and there are great yoga and Pilates classes, Dynamo Cycling etc. There is also a growing trend for a healthier food. There are so many fantastic healthy eateries that have opened recently like Wild & The Moon (we’ve just designed the architecture of the one Place du Marché St-Honoré), Maisie Café, Season...
Q: Which French brands do you admire, and why?
A: I love Astier de Villatte, I could live in their shop in Rue Saint Honoré. I love everything they make, their candles, their dishes, the selection of trinkets. This brand has a soul! I also really like A.P.C for its very clear, defined line - it's a very strong, global brand, but very Parisian too, as beautiful for men as it is for women. I also love Aurélie Bidermann, I admire the boldness of her creations and the richness of her inspirations. Finally, I love Soeur which is more of a brand for young women, but I could buy everything, I like the cuts, the colors, the materials etc. They also have a nice line of small leather goods.
Q: When you’re not in the office where can we find you? What do you love to do on weekends?
A: You can find me in a café with friends, at the Marché des Puces de Saint-Ouen (a Parisian flea-market) or at an exhibition because Parisis full of fabulous museums! I also like to stroll around and discover new districts of the city or to escape to the countryside.
Q: Can you share your favourite restaurants, museums, or shops in Paris?
A: Ohlala, there are so many! For restaurants I would say the Pantruche in the 9th Arrondissement, Abri in the 10th, Juvéniles in the 1st, Le Pigalle in the 9th and I recently discovered SOMA, a Japanese restaurant in the Marais, everything is absolutely delicious. For museums, I love the Jeu de Paume, the Musée Rodin, the Palais de Tokyo and the Pompidou Center, amongst others. And for shopping, I love Merci or Le Bon Marché and of course the brands mentioned in the earlier answer.
Q: How do you switch off and take time for yourself?
A: My weeks are super busy - I have so many things to do. I give myself a yoga session once a week, which does me the world of good, we practice on the office terrace which has a panoramic view of Paris. And I go to a quiet part of the countryside with no phone or wifi signal where I can walk for hours in the woods, I love it!