SHAPING DESIGN HERE / PARTNER SPOTLIGHT: NOBILIS
We sat with Norman Halard and Eric Valero to learn about the origins of the iconic company and how they have managed to keep innovating for 95 years.
Norman – your grandfather, Adolphe Halard, founded NOBILIS by opening a shop in Paris’ 6th arrondissement, between the Church of Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the École des Beaux-Arts. Why did he set root there to start your family’s venture?
NORMAN: In 1928, my grandfather decided to buy out an existing wallpaper shop located at 29 rue Bonaparte, to start his own business. The rent was inexpensive due to a city project planning to extend Rue de Rennes to the riverbank – a project that was thankfully abandoned as it would have eventually led to the destruction of the shop’s building. Saint-Germain-des- Prés was also an affluent neighborhood, making it a perfect location to sell elegant and refined wallpapers, and it is still our home today.
Eric – How did your prior studies and experience lead you to join NOBILIS as Creative Director?
ERIC: I studied drawing at the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris’ school of fine art. I then sharpened my colorist skills as a freelance designer, during which I was lucky enough to work beside major decorators. I was taught to adapt to every style of our field.
"In 1928, my grandfather decided to buy an existing wallpaper shop located at 29 rue Bonaparte, to start his business...a perfect location to sell elegant and refined wallpapers, and it is still our home today."
— NORMAN HALARD
Norman – you took the reins of NOBILIS in 2011 from your father, Denis, continuing the company’s multi-generational heritage. In your experience, what has changed the most and what has changed the least?
NORMAN: What has changed the most since I joined the company is the switch to digital that has been accelerating since then, from corporate communication strategy to supply chain management. What has changed the least is the interdependence of the whole textile industrial ecosystem (including weavers, dyers, yarn manufacturers, processors etc.) on which any editor rely on.
Eric - NOBILIS is headquartered in Paris but has grown into an international presence now in over 30 countries. How do your collections manage to appeal to such a vast audience yet still retain the essence of NOBILIS?
ERIC: As a freelance, I worked for French houses but also for houses abroad. This is how I was able to analyze the tastes of different countries. Within the Nobilis house I strive to preserve our “French touch” and instill at the same time an international style.
Which designs, past or present, are your favorites and why?
NORMAN: The ones yet to come! Because every time we launch a new design, we are already thinking of the next one that always seems more interesting and exciting to us.
ERIC: My favorite design is “Extravaganza”, especially the colorway in shades of gold and beige. This pattern in the style of birch bark matches perfectly with the jacquard weave.
“we want to stay thrilled by each new collection and inspire our community as much as we can.”
— NORMAN HALARD
Kneedler Fauchère and NOBILIS have shared a partnership for several decades now. And both companies are celebrating important milestones in 2023 - KF is celebrating 75 years of business, and NOBILIS is celebrating an astonishing 95 years! What’s next?
NORMAN: We want to stay thrilled by each new collection and inspire our community as much as we can, try not to repeat ourselves or look back, push further with new techniques and creativity, share our enthusiasm, and continue having as much fun as possible.
ERIC: I always wish to surprise my clients by innovating continuously.
Rapid Fire Round
Favorite childhood game?
NORMAN: Climbing in trees.
ERIC: As a child I did not play much but what I did was draw.
What is your “comfort food”?
NORMAN: Cheese, bread and wine!
ERIC: Bouillon de poule.
The scariest thing you’ve ever done?
ERIC: Deep-sea diving
The best way to unwind?
NORMAN: Having a surf session / going on a bicycle ride in the countryside
ERIC: Gardening and cooking
If you could be any animal, which one and why?
NORMAN: Chimpanzee. It’s all about the childhood tree climbing memory I guess!
ERIC: A stag, to live in the woods.