The Art of Welcoming According to Isabelle Miaja, Architect-Designer

France’s history goes to show that we have cultivated a true art of living and welcoming. This expertise and thoroughly French art of welcoming has been considerably developed in luxury hotels, where it remains a source of inspiration for the great names in the hotel industry. Is this a way of being ‘elsewhere’ and offering a service of excellence when the hotel is located in, for instance, Asia? What is your definition or vision of the French art of welcoming? How is the French art of welcoming adapting itself to the 21st century in the international luxury market and particularly in Asia, which, I understand, is a region that you know very well?

The French art of living is a world-renowned ‘trademark’! It is a way of knowing how to live that transcends national borders. Its aura of elegance, of a certain finesse in intuition, palate, culture, and refinement is an immense asset for luxury hotels.

For each project, we present our expertise, which has been influenced by our French roots and our knowledge of Asia, a background that reveals itself through small touches that our clients greatly appreciate. We bring them this touch: be it unusual, be it irreverent, be it in subtle shades that create a sense of indescribable charm, which then itself creates a unique ambiance, an atmosphere defined by an accumulation of experiences that have then been reinterpreted. The French art of welcoming is an ensemble of codes governing a certain lifestyle that has been passed down from generation to generation—an appreciation of ‘rules’ to follow, a knowledge of what is ‘correct’ and of what one ‘must do’!—an entire symphony of unspoken complexities, like a dance where each step is executed meticulously, a labyrinth where each turn is carefully mapped out! It’s a realm where many people lose themselves, but which remains endlessly fascinating, since each culture possesses its own art of welcoming, its own art of living and its own codes of conduct, which we then must learn to recognize and appreciate. Today we adapt this art by integrating local touches for each project; the codes possess the ability to change and renew themselves. It is in these changes that we best express each realm of artistic heights.

France still maintains a large presence in the luxury market in the mind of the clients. It is a calling card that often works to my advantage, since France undoubtedly remains a nation where the traditions of luxury are admired, respected, and followed with rigor. Being French alone is an asset that has served me well many times in the past in informing the decisions of clients facing the selection process for an interior architect. There is an immense sense of confidence in the intellectual, artistic, and lifestyle contributionput forth by France and of which I remain an ambassador everywhere I work.

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