Interview with Eric Valero, Creative Director, Nobilis

Monday, October 23, 2017written by Kelly Gomez
The best part of this whole KF: Here thing? It gives us an excuse to ask brilliant people questions we’ve always wanted the answers to. Thank you, Eric Valero, for taking the time.

We're curious about any experiences (professional or otherwise) that led to your role at Nobilis in a completely unexpected way. Was there any part of the journey that you can look back on now and see clearly how it contributed, but at the time it felt completely out of line with where you wanted to be heading?

My first job after 5 years in >Ecole des Beaux Arts Paris< was to create the display windows of a fashion brand. One time I was painting big panels to put on the bottom of the windows.  Denis Halard, the owner of Nobilis, saw the painting and came in ask me to work for Nobilis. It was my first contact with the world of decoration.  If I had not meet Denis Halard at this time maybe I never would have worked in decoration.

Is there a part of your creative process that is unconventional? Where do you find inspiration?

My secret is to never stop creating. One creation leads to another creation.  I am a sponge. I open my mind everywhere and all the time.

Have you worked with any mentors? Where did you get off the ground, so to speak, and was there anyone that you worked with/under or studied that helped you get where you are today?

I worked for most of my life as freelance designer. I worked for many of the design companies in the world.  It was school of life. It was so interesting to work with people who have different taste then mine.  I worked a short time with Manuel Canovas.   I learned how mix the colors, like he always said, “there is no ugly colors -  just bad association”.

And Denis Halard taught me to became an art director. There is a big difference between a designer and an art director. You must forget your personal taste and just think of your company. You must listen the market and make a synthesis of all this information and create the perfect collection.  I now work for Norman Halard who is managing the company and we are looking to the future.

Creativity will save our business.

Culture will save you.

Who’s doing really exciting things in the industry?

I will say all the different mills we are working with.  Every year the industry develops new yarns, new techniques; I work with 150 mills all over the world to create the collection of Nobilis.

Who are your heroes?

Studio Peregalli and Michael S Smith for decoration. David Hockney, Rembrandt, Albrecht Durer for painting. F.Scott Fitzerald and Jack London for literature.

What are the components of a perfect day for you?

No email, no phone call! To be alone with my creative team around the drawing table and talking about the perfect fabric or wallpaper or the perfect color.

What do you love about Nobilis?

What I love about Nobilis is that it’s a family company; I am very sensitive and emotive guy. It’s more comfortable for me - we are a big family. I can work with my heart. It’s a Parisian and elegant company, it goes perfectly with my personal taste and lifestyle.

What’s the worst advice you hear given all the time?

Be more safe and more commercial. If we do that, you shoot yourself in the foot. Creativity will save our business.


Advice to a younger version of yourself?

Trust in yourself and listen to the experienced people. Cultivate yourself; culture will save you.

You came to California in September for the first time. What interested you during your trip? Do you think this will impact your design process in the studio?

I had never been to California. I was very excited to meet more of the professional decorators of the West Coast. Like I said, I am a sponge, it’s always interesting for me to identify the different tastes in the world. The most difficult part of my job is to understand what our client needs or expects from Nobilis. To spend time and listen to the professionals of decoration will help me to create the next collection in the good way.

What impresses you most about Kneedler Fauchere?

That’s easy. I’m most impressed, specifically, with your interview style and the casual yet sophisticated approach you take to articulating your thoughts. You’re just so funny and smart.

*Editor's note: Last question may or may not have been completely fabricated.