Valérie Soulard-Brin, international export development manager of Gautier, shares more about the family-run brand’s focus on children’s furniture and interior trends to watch
Was it ever your intention to join the family business?
Valérie Soulard-Brin (VSB): No, never. My father, Dominique Soulard, was of the opinion that we should do what we want to do, and decide if we would like to join the company full-time. It’s been 18 years since I joined Gautier, and my brother David Soulard is now overseeing the company as the chief executive officer.
My father is always pushing for good communication—while David makes the final decisions, we do discuss these decisions together. Although we don’t work in the same department, it’s always good to share ideas.
What makes Gautier so unique?
VSB: The strength of Gautier lies in our focus on quality furniture for children. The company was started in 1958 in Vendée, France, by Patrice Gautier, who had the vision to specialise in children’s furniture after seeing that there was nothing in the market for kids to decorate their own space.
Our furniture is still made in France; we export to over 50 countries, with partners working with us to bring the French flair to furniture design. We also want to care for the environment, through our eco-conscious production processes.
What are the ways in which interior trends influence the design of your collections?
VSB: Homes are getting smaller and smaller in most cities, so we want to provide compact solutions. Each of our new collections, including the Nuance bedroom collection, have optional drawers, as well as various styles and finishes to cater to different tastes.
We also have quite a few new furniture pieces in black because we think black is back; and the new Addict collection, with new bookcases with mineral effect. Common finishes across all of the Gautier collections make it easy for you to mix and match these furniture pieces.
What are the most important aspects of designing furniture for children?
VSB: It’s as important for these collections to charm children. When children visit our showroom, they usually want to buy the whole look as it is, complete with accessories and decorations on the walls. This includes the Mistral collection, which features nautical details inspired by the sea.
Furniture is becoming a bit like fashion; you have to move with the times. We make our collections contemporary through a variety of accessories, and trend-influenced designs and colours.
It’s also important to be practical when it comes to designing furniture for children. Safety comes first; we follow all the European health regulations in the materials and lacquer that we use, and we’re trying to make our glue all-natural, without any elements that are dangerous for children.
Gautier is located at 18 Tampines Industrial Crescent, #01-15 Spaces@Tampines, Tel: 6908 0880
This story was adapted from Singapore Tatler Homes June-July 2018.