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“Chez Eux” : When receiving becomes an art

At the head of Casa Lopez since 2014, Pierre Sauvage cultivates an aesthetic that finds its raison d’être in sharing and conviviality. In his recently published book “Chez Eux”, the designer invites us to his friends, editors, creators and decorators for lunch or dinner. Throughout the pages, he opens the doors to refined interiors where the sense of staging is in no way contradictory to natural relaxation and authenticity. Exotic, country, city, bohemian, or grand century atmospheres, the tables set and the cooking secrets revealed there reflect the diversity of personalities of each guest he introduces us to. In Paris, we dine in Terry de Gunzburg’s garden house, enjoy a “Portuguese pudding” à la Muette at the home of the dashing Mathilde Favier, Dior’s Public Relations Director, and cross the Seine to sit at the corner of a table with naturalist decorations overlooking the dome of the Institute at the antique dealers and decorators Jamie Creel and Marco Scarani. We escape to Normandy for a lunch in a greenhouse at the Battlefields Castle, we fly to Portugal to Christian Louboutin’s house for a barefoot meal, before ending up in Connecticut in the country house of the French architect Robert Couturier and discover the recipe of his almond cake. From the art of choosing dishes and table linen to the art of floral arrangements, twenty guests who open the doors of their homes distil the same joy of receiving and the gaiety of sharing moments, whose rarity in these times makes them all the more appreciated.

A Christmas in Tangier

At Marco Scarani and Jamie Creel’s house

For the exceptional guests Marco Scarani and Jamie Creel, this year’s health situation has led to a rethinking of the organization of Christmas parties. Unable to find themselves in their Parisian apartment, it is in Dar Zero, their bewitching home at the gates of the Kasbah of Tangier, which was also that of the decorator Charles Sevigny, that they will host the Nativity celebrations. In spite of the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, a warm reunion – even if limited – remains a must. For the occasion Marco Scanari unveils some traditions and inspirations that will prevail at Christmas like no other.

Acumen Magazine : How do you usually organize Christmas celebrations ?

Marco Scarani : Since our respective families are in the United States and Italy, we usually meet in Paris for Christmas and entertain friends passing through France at the big kitchen table. The kitchen of the apartment is organized around a large bench that overlooks the quays of Paris, as well as a bar-shaped work surface where you can cook and at the same time be close to your guests.

In this particular year, how will you organize yourself ?

This year is special : we can only meet in Morocco for Christmas, and receive our friends from Tangiers whose families are far away. We make a table of 6 or 8, in an indoor garden at home.

What are the traditions you like to respect ?

For the Christmas period, wherever we are, there is always a crib near the table, or near the fireplace. As for Christmas Eve, there is always a person or two passing by who join us.

Can you tell us the menu you are planning for this year ?

This year, the choices of products being limited in Morocco, it will be a turkey stuffed with chestnuts, sweet potatoes Moroccan style and a leek gratin, which is usually served in the family of my friend Jamie Creel for Thanksgiving.

What table decoration do you like for the holidays ?

For table decorations, I prefer to keep a low profile on Christmas decorations. I decorate the table with silver covered fruits or shells, which we sell in our “Creel and Gow” gallery in New-York. It’s very festive ! I also add a touch of red with the napkins.

What do you think makes these festive meals a success ?

The success of a dinner rests on an atmosphere bathed in tradition : the crib, the fir tree, the warmth of the fire, the family recipes that we only make once a year (like the gratin of leeks with cream: fortunately, considering the calories!).
It is also due to the company of the people who are at home, because they are far from their families. These friends bring an essential dimension of sharing during the holidays.

What mistakes should be avoided ?

The one thing to avoid is not inviting a passing friend. It is precisely these friends that make Christmas a unique moment in the year !