Guerlain & Berard Trompe L’oeil


The iconic, Parisian perfumery, Guerlain opened their elegant, flagship boutique in 1914 on the Champs-Elysées.  The Guerlain family hired Charles Mewes, architect of The Ritz Hotel, to design the structure that included offices and family living quarters on the upper floors.  Throughout the years, prominent interior designers like Andree Putman, have shaped the boutique during its expansions.  In 1939, the family living quarters were re-imagined to create a luxurious spa designed by Jean-Michel Frank and Christian Berard.  Berard’s contribution is perhaps one of the most enduring and has influenced generations of interior designers.  Berard was an artist best known for his fashion illustrations and set designs.   At the spa, Berard painted architectural elements in the trompe l’oeil style evocative of his set designs.  The painted “panels” created by loose brushstrokes received a dimensional treatment with the application of grosgrain cut to the brushstrokes and mounted.

Grosgrain application technique interpreted by Peter Marino Architect

Love the playfulness displayed in this treatment and how it transports the occupant into a living set design.  The opening photo and the one below show the original 1939 renovation.

The Guerlain spa Berard door today.  Carol Gillott photo


In 2014, Peter Marino Architect, was engaged to revamp existing spaces and create new ones in the unused basement.  A patisserie in the new basement space was designed paying homage to Berard’s paneled spa design.

“The 68” patisserie by Peter Marino Architect
“The 68” patisserie by Peter Marino Architect.  Tea and honey are featured above.
Detail of vertical panels.  Grosgrain is pieced and shaped to create architectural elements in Guerlain’s signature peony and amethyst colors.

What a wonderful way to add dimension and style to otherwise boring walls or ceilings in your home.

Should you be inclined to treat your walls in this fashion, the UK wall covering firm, Fromental pays homage to Christian Berard with their collection of decorative panels, “Berard”.   I love the combination of classic architecture and whimsy.

Fromental’s “Berard” custom panels



Available designs from Fromental’s “Berard”
Fromental’s “Berard” panel in Ashes color way


Fromental’s “Berard” panel in Christian color way


Or you could grab a paint brush if you’re artistically inclined, if not hire a decorative painter.  The grosgrain application is optional.

Leslie Segrete paints a door. House Beautiful

When you have a small, unremarkable space this playful treatment provides high visual impact.  I love the way Paul Wiseman carried the treatment onto the mirror and the chest of drawers.

Paul Wiseman created this trompe l’oeil powder room for a client.


A Berard homage in this library designed by Michael Moore.  Traditional Home


If you like the look, but not the labor involved, another option is this dimensional wall covering from French firm Elitis that evokes architectural panels found in French residences.

Elitis Chance Perfecto wallcovering


The artist, Christian Berard