claude et francois xavier lalanne



As I may have mentioned, I am half french. And my french side is full of prolifically talented artists. My grandmother was a weaver who had a retrospective at the Pomidou, her husband a modern architect, and her sister and brother in law made up the artistic team known as: claude and francois xavier lalanne.

Growing up, I was heavily influenced by trips to france visiting my grandmother and claude and francois. Claude and Francois lived in an old stone house outside of paris with a courtyard and a cutting garden, their sculptures embedded into the environment.


The workshop was adjoined to the house and everything about their life was an expression of creativity. It was not about knowing the right people (although man did they actually know all the right people) or owning the right things. They were blazing their own path and the focus was on their work and on quality of life (they were the best cooks).

Everything was beautiful. Everything was a moment.

My new nephew is Claude’s great grandson and so she came for a visit last week. It was wonderful to see her in california and she surprised me with a very special gift. A crapaud of my own. She even apologized for it not being the green one that I prefer (it reminds me of my grandmother who had the green one in her home) but the brown one instead.

I am seriously touched since their presence in my life has meant so much to me. It makes me feel like a real part of the family and it’s basically just incredible to be handed such an important heirloom. It arrived from france and is sitting in my apartment; gleaming and beautiful and a reminder of so much more.

so merci, claude. je t’embrasse.

(Images are from their catalogs or are my own. The interior with the crocodile chair is from Vogue Living and the one above is obviously from Life)

17 Responses to “claude et francois xavier lalanne”

  1. grace says:

    such a nice tribute. when i was decluttering my home, i realized that my absolute favorite things were inherited from family or close family friends–its overwhelming to think about the history your inherited crapaud has!

  2. Elizabeth says:

    lovely piece. and lovely chair!

  3. wow. i had no idea how fancy french you were. i am very impressed and excited to meet your crapaud! this is a really beautiful post.

  4. ocmodern says:

    amazing!!!!! Love it….and the flatware…incroyable!

  5. umithepumi says:

    sweet homage, fancy french girl!

  6. mlleparadis says:

    how lucky you are to have these wonderfully talented people in your family. it’s a fabulous legacy.

  7. mm says:

    What relatives! I am mesmerized by their work and recently posted on my love for her crocodile pieces. Wow! Very cool.

    designjunkiesonline.blogspot.com

  8. [...] Thanks, Emma at marion house book for the shout out! And just for you, here is the unveiling of the lalanne crapaud in my living room. Sure, it’s a little tight, but I think it’s [...]

  9. tracy says:

    catching up here… have to comment on such a beautiful post. thank you for sharing.

  10. chris says:

    whimsical beauty

  11. [...] [Photo credits: 1, 2 and 3: Amber Interiors via Cup of Jo; 4. Laurie Joliet] [...]

  12. TK says:

    Me gusta mucho!

  13. Trine Marie says:

    I know a person like that. He’s not famous (though his father is) or recognized for his work (he’s 20) and he does not ever expect to be, but he is the most talented man I’ve ever known. And I am honored to be loved by him. Even though we’re on different continents and our intimate relationship ended quite a while back, we still have that special connection. He changed my life. Opened me to myself and showed me the world.

    How lucky you are and how wonderful that you’ve followed the same path. Hope your enjoying a wonderful weekend :)

  14. kelly says:

    Are you kidding me?! Wow, just wow. Some people have all the luck;) I can’t even imagine being born into such a creative family. You are a very very lucky gal. I’ll just be over here in the corner completely envious of such luck.

  15. laure says:

    oh kelly! don’t be too jealous!

  16. [...] been 3 years since I visited my family in France and I’m way overdue. So I took the plunge and booked a ticket (slowing down and [...]

  17. [...] L’Amour Fou: a documentary about, more or less, the relationship between Yves St. Laurent and Pierre Berge, the life they built together and the dissolution and auction of the estate when YSL died. It’s slow and incredibly moving with beautiful shots of their homes in Paris and Morocco and their extensive art collection. The narration and the stories about YSL’s career and personal life are captivating. The still above is from the movie, and is admittedly a little nod to my family. [...]

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