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Netjets Volume 4 (2018)

OWNER PROFILE one of the

OWNER PROFILE one of the most beautiful cities in the world,” Pinto says – the conversation returns to her headliner project, the Hôtel Lambert. It’s one of many she’s currently working on across a portfolio that includes private residences, yacht and plane interiors as well as hotels. But for all the glories of her acclaimed career, the rebirth of the Hôtel Lambert may be the project for she is most enduringly remembered. This is because there are few buildings in Paris that have the cachet of this elegant limestone building, a place that is still special to the international beau monde as the venue for the dazzling parties of Alexis von Rosenberg, Baron de Redé, when he had a flat here from 1949 to 2004, and Marie-Hélène de Rothschild, after she and her husband acquired the property in 1975. The Hôtel Lambert was purchased by Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa al-Thani, brother of the then Emir of Qatar, for the purported sum of €60 million in September 2007. Classic look Linda Pinto infuses her designs with a wit-infused chic “ It’s about creating beauty and giving it life, maybe by inventing décors that are a little offcentre and very subtly surprising ” In 2010, Sheikh Abdullah’s son Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah al-Thani hired Alberto Pinto, known for his opulent interiors and founder of the eponymous design firm, to renovate the mansion in 2010. Alberto died in 2012, and then a fire caused severe damage to the building in July 2013. Now, under the auspices of Linda Pinto, who had already been working with her brother for 30 years but took over their business on his death, the magnificent building has been renewed and revived. “It makes me feel rather humble, really,” says Pinto, “because it’s part of the history of Paris, the history of France. It’s a great honour to have done this work.” So what exactly did Pinto and her team of nine decorators and seven project managers (80 people work at the company in total) do at the Hôtel Lambert? “The mansion is a listed French national monument, so we had to respect the building’s good bones at the same time that we responded to the needs of the new owner.” She pauses for a second, and then adds, “You know it isn’t about ‘good taste’, that awful clumsy phrase. It’s about creating beauty and giving it life, maybe by inventing décors that are a little off-centre and very subtly surprising.” This aptly describes the sensibility of another much-lauded recent Pinto project, the renovation of the Lanesborough Hotel in London. “We respected the visual DNA of the great English country houses, but rescaled the usual decorative idioms, including furniture and mouldings, to make them more legible. We also used colour to create modernity,” says Pinto, who admits that hues and pigments are her true passion. “My brother and I were born in Casablanca, and the family also had a house in Tangiers,” she explains. “So the rich colours of Morocco were imprinted on my imagination when I was a girl. I think colour has an immediate emotional impact, too. I will always remember how exultant I felt once during a trip to India when we went to a lake near Benares, and the shoreline was a kaleidoscope of colours from the saris that had just been washed and set out to dry. For me, colour and light are essential elements of every interior I design, whether it’s a mansion or a jet,” says Pinto, who joined her brother’s firm in Paris as a young woman after working in art galleries. Alberto studied at the École du Louvre in Paris, and then moved to New York and opened a photographic agency that specialised in architecture and decoration. This led to COURTESY LINDA PINTO 32 NetJets

PIERE BONBON / ALAMY, © TOYO, BRUNO LEVY/CHALLENGES-REA/LAIF regular work for the American magazine House & Garden, along with other Condé Nast publications, which allowed Pinto to meet and work with some of the greatest interior designers of the 20th century, including Luis Barragán in Mexico and David Hicks in England. Pinto returned to Paris in 1968 and launched his own interior-design business, the Cabinet Alberto Pinto, which quickly attracted commissions from the royal families of Saudi Arabia and Qatar. If the Alberto Pinto designs were often eclectic and opulent, Linda Pinto works across a keyboard of different styles to produce interiors with a wit-infused chic that create an instant sense of wellbeing. “We don’t have a signature style at Pinto, because we can satisfy a variety of tastes, but in general, our idiom is modern classicism,” she says. This aesthetic is also what informs Design Partners, her newly launched collaboration with New York-based French architect Thierry Despont. “We have many of the same clients, but in different parts of the world, so this idea just organically made sense to both of us,” says Pinto. “What we’re doing is establishing a new brand that will have the capacity to work all over Europe, the US, the Middle East and Asia. With our new brand, we aspire to become the Louis- Vuitton-Moet-Hennessy of the interior-design world. LVMH has many different luxury brands that target the same customer in different ways. We want to do the same thing.” Pinto’s world view is courtesy of a life as an inveterate and enthusiastic traveller for both personal and professional reasons – something that is further enhanced by her experience as a NetJets Owner, as she explains, “Flying with NetJets allows me to work in complete serenity, which makes travel time as productive as it is pleasant.” Home is still where the heart is, though, and today she lives in the sumptuous apartment of her late brother on the Quai d’Orsay in Saint-Germain-des-Prés in Paris, but she’s made the often-photographed rooms her own through the years. “My life is different from Alberto’s,” she explains. “You know, when my grandchildren come to visit me, my attitude is, oh well, if something gets broken it’s not the end of the world. What we need in the world today are decorations that are elegant but warm, comfortable and cosy,” she says – and that quartet of adjectives describes both the woman and the Pinto style to a T. ■ A Designer’s Guide to Paris LINDA PINTO’S ESSENTIAL ADDRESSES IN THE FRENCH CAPITAL I often walk from my flat on the Left Bank to our offices near the charming Place des Victoires on the Right Bank, and the beauty of the Seine is a daily pleasure. I also think the Tuileries Gardens are an underrated and overlooked delight right in the heart of Paris, since they offer a green place to sit still, but my favourite Parisian hideaway is the gardens inside the Palais-Royal in the 1st Arrondissement. They’re just magnificent. I also find the charm of Saint-Germain-des-Prés unassailable. I love its bookstores and cinemas, and I often shop at the Sunday market on the Boulevard Raspail, because I frequently invite friends to Sunday lunch. I like to cook, but I also love going to restaurants. Three of my favourites are Le Petit Lutetia (+33 145 483 353), which is a stylish neighbourhood place with a pretty interior where I often run into friends; Le Stresa (, for the excellent Italian food and the atmosphere; and Toyo ( for its superb sushi.” From top: the pretty Le Petit Lutetia; Japanese creations at Toyo; the team behind the family-run Le Stresa 33 NetJets

September | October | November 2009 Volume 33, Number 4
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