Charles Zana - Biography

For the last thirty years, from Paris to London, via New York, Tel Aviv, and Monaco, Charles Zana has provided finesse and expertise to the world's most beautiful interiors. In three decades, Zana, who studied architecture at the Beaux-Arts in Paris, has defined his unique style sought by his client who seeks the exclusive vision of this art lover, creatively passionate about design. Ultimately, he conveys his sensibility for both art and design by extracting from their essence. His passion for art enables eloquent discussions whether it be the latest gallery exhibition through his expertise on the great masters of Italian Design such as Andrea Branzi, Enzo Mari, or Ettore Sottsass. This proficiency is his trademark.

But Zana is more than a specialist in Italian design. In his sumptuous book “Charles Zana : Interiors”, published by Rizzoli in 2018, we discover his signature style. He wants to herald a new tradition, one where classicism is revisited and united with emotion, connecting his unique creations to his clients. Charles Zana undertakes each new project through a multifaceted approach. Through the assimilation of both the history and topography of the site and combining that with his accumulated knowledge and experience, the delicate process of design appropriates these garnered details and reworks all elements to arrive at the final ensemble. Zana’s designs embody elegance whilst seeking comfort, harmony found through rigor yet fluid in circulation and plan, traditional values whilst embracing seamless modern technologies. As a cultivated aesthete and himself a collector, the spaces he creates emphasize the artworks owned by his collector clients, giving the impression of being gently guided through a curated exhibition. The design decisions are directly informed by the artworks and react to the qualities and requirements of individual pieces. By referring to each sculpture, abstraction, or installation, he writes a new directive offering a greater conceptual value.

Charles Zana’s approach proposes these “curated” artistic interiors, imbued of meaning but also welcoming; fully adapted to the lives of their occupants yet where each day their eye can be drawn towards a new focus and aesthetic. His extensive understanding of both the design and construction process allows Zana to react and reinterpret in a natural and appropriate manner when required. Working alongside a group of talented artisans and consultants, Zana sees himself as the “musical director”, conducting an orchestra of high-level craftsmen, playful lighting designers, and renowned landscape architects. This “orchestra” accompanies him through each movement, from conception to realization, as together they find solutions and propose innovations that bow to the revered service of creation. The result is an impeccable performance that intertwines luxury and intelligence permitting the architect to step back to let his creations speak. Charles Zana transmits this passion for art and design, so integral to his identity, not only through his own team at Charles Zana architecture and project collaborators but also through his teaching work at the Camondo Architecture and Design school in Paris. To reward his inspirational work over the last two decades, in 2019 Charles Zana was named Chevalier of France’s Order of Arts and Literature by David Cameo, director of the Musée des Arts Decoratifs in Paris, France.

Cédric Morisset