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Fabienne and Paul Silvera, distribution geniuses

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Fabienne and Paul Silvera, distribution geniuses

The Marseille tandem, which broadcasts the leading brands of contemporary furniture, is a leader. Meet those who shape the design of the windows.


Since opening its first store in 1991, the duo has been busy family. In a few years, Marseille Paul and his sister Fabienne Silvera multiplied the signs. Kleber, Bastille, University, soon Wagram (see box) ... They conquered the interiors of Parisians. Far from aligning sofas, express their stores each in their own way a new approach to furniture. More personalized and more in tune with the eclectic profile of their clients. Among them, the Foreign Ministry, Galeries Lafayette, a host of firms, but also the province of SMEs and young design enthusiasts households. Meet two ambassadors of modernity.

Today, you have a total of five showrooms in Paris. What is the common spirit?

Paul Silvera: Every place has its history. The latest, the store of the street of the University, which specializes in sharp designer pieces, was a former furniture shop we already loved the time we lived Marseille. One day, the place is released. For us it was a sign. A Bastille, we recovered in 2005 the old store Le Bihan has a beautiful industrial architecture. It housed the last silent film in Paris.

Fabienne Silvera: Whenever We move into a new space, we try to restore its first soul. We believe that the place of central importance in the act of purchase.

Silvera is above all a family story ...

PS: We owe everything to our father, Armand Silvera, 81 years old. It was he who founded in the 1970s, a shop in Marseille, Prado Avenue.

FS: This was also a very beautiful place, a former factory of dates, the Post became the eighth arrondissement, Marseille. Initially, our father sold only office furniture. When I joined my tray, we began to disseminate all the furniture for the home.

Your passion for design is born in Marseille ...

PS: The trigger for me occurred in the United States, where I spent four years out of my business school. I worked with a European distributor, before meeting a French speaking Switzerland. Together we have created a subsidiary of Vitra in the United States. This allowed me to travel around the country and be with Rolf Fehlbaum, the director of the company, an extraordinary man. It was a decisive experience. I learned to work with prescribers, that is to say the architects to understand the plans, to understand how the furniture is an extension of an architecture. I also learned there to be positive, serious, ambitious, punctual ...

What helped you conquer the capital?

FS: We started to open in 1991, a resource library, rue du Cherche-Midi. As we were also agents of the Italian publisher Edra, we presented some avant-garde furniture. But our treasure, it was this material that we were the first to gather and make available to architects.

PS: I had discovered this principle library in the United States. This was a room with a table in the center, around trade literature worldwide and samples. At the time, there was no Internet. It was a big success. While the industry was highly fragmented, we presented both products for the home and others for the company. Because we realized that we were in the offices, we mixed the two worlds. It was André Rousselet, former president of Canal +, which really launched us when he told us the development of the new headquarters of the chain in 1991.

You work for both individuals and businesses. How to distribute your activity in these two areas?

PS: There is one side of the network 1000 architects we work all year for office facilities and private homes and on the other, individuals who visit our stores. Today, the relationship between the company and the private is more balanced. Nearly 60% of our business comes from communities and 40% private. This distribution has evolved. There are ten, it was rather 80/20. Moreover, this year is the residential sector will be able to help the company.

How do you differentiate yourself from your competitors?

FS: In the scope of our offer and our choices. We always choose products based on the one that drew them and those who made them. We also like the innovative and creative brands: Established & Sons, Tom Dixon, Foscarini, Gaia & Gino. But above all, we choose the things we love, we would like to have at home.

PS: This is not only the choice of two, but of a team, with profiles and different cultures. We travel a lot. There is always someone in London, Australia and Asia. We try to find the unsung editors, young designers.

You are about to inaugurate a new space Avenue Wagram. How will it still be different?

PS: This is a new generation store concept, at least in spirit than in Colette Murray Moss, New York. We want this place to become a reflection of contemporary creation. We will expose them up to new, changing and regularly animate the windows. Exceptional creations can be found there, but also products from 5 euros. The idea is to be able to find a small gift as we buy flowers before going to dinner with friends.

FS: This small price approach is all the more important that in times of crisis, where we paid more attention to his expenses, it is important to continue to have fun. If you can not change everything in his house, sometimes just a detail, a new object, to improve its interior.


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