An exclusive interview with one of the country's most revered interior decorators, who has worked with some of the best global brands.
By Walter Raymond
“I am utterly baroque. I like English and French styles. I like the classics,” states Javier Iturrioz, the preferred name in Buenos Aires for decorating distinguished commercial spaces or creating memorable displays for important social events. “I love gold, do not follow trends and I'm not a fan of minimalism. But when I do it, I do a perfect job.”
Javier Iturrioz, 49, is an architect who specializes in interior design and is currently the most sought-after decorator in Argentina. He defines his style as stage design with an extravagant but elegant touch. Perhaps it was precisely that balanced personal mixture which seduced prestigious international brands such as Hermès, Cartier, Patek Phillippe, Ralph Lauren, Armani, Versace, Louis Vuitton, Zegna, Carolina Herrera and an extensive list of maisons who entrusted their image to his talent.
Iturrioz welcomed azureazure.com to his office housed in a building of stylized French architecture. He is friendly, warm and dapper, with much of the English etiquette acquired through his European education, and with family traditions in which wearing a tuxedo was the norm.
When asked about a turning point in his career he replies, “Hermès, without a doubt." Iturrioz has been responsible for decorating the windows of this French brand since its launch in Argentina.
Then he talks about some secrets of his relationship with the big brands, about their explicit, and not so explicit, rules.
"With Hermès, for example, we must draw inspiration from an annual theme to create the windows." He says that he must also create special atmospheres according to the seasons for launches of collections and they must match the fashion snow or the advertising campaign.
"With local firms, however, there is the possibility of using a freer kind of creativity, but without departing from the focus or specific target," he adds.
A vocation to create
This talented designer fondly recalls his work with firms such as Ménage a Trois, Uma or Vitamin, his creative years with Tiffany & Co. and his transcendental work with Hermès. Interestingly, he defines his work as his children. Some of these works were more ephemeral than others, but he thinks they were all memorable. He mentions some personal milestones including the striking decor he created for l'Abeille, a typical New York club in Buenos Aires that marked an era.
The designer has worked with some of the world's most exquisite brands.
Of his work in Argentina, he recalls the famous Clubland of the former Disco Pacha, and the ambiences he created for Dot, of the couture designer Laurencio Adot, or for designer Flavia Martini in the charming Avenue Quintana, as well as plenty of very memorable windows and themed parties. He seems somehow sad noting that Buenos Aires suffers the absence of leading international brands.
"If we compare the windows of Buenos Aires with those of the Fifth Avenue, that lack is very noticeable" he says.
According to Iturrioz, local brands are not as flashy nor provide a significant budget to showcase them at their best. "In some cases they even opt to simply hang a poster, and believe it is enough. At one time I was doing windows for eleven major international brands. And that was a pleasure," he adds.
A passion for scenery and for dogs
In addition, Iturrioz made stage sets for the Teatro Colón, the most renowned lyrical venue in Argentina and one of the most important in the world. He also worked on film and television sets with a starring role in the independent film Host, a reality show in Chile, and with an extensive career as co-director on television.
"I had a great time and am not afraid of the cameras," he says as he reminisces on the fun filled experience.
One of his weaknesses is dogs, to the point of saying that owning one is the best thing that ever happened to him. To Iturrioz, people who never had a dog are missing something wonderful.
“For me, my dogs are my connection to reality. I spoil and hug them all the time,” he says.
He reports that Gauchito, one of his friendly dogs, usually sits on his lap while he works in the office.
To switch off from the fast pace of the city he tries to devote the weekends to the countryside, relaxing amidst the greenery of nature. "It fills me with energy, creativity and good vibes," he states.
His place in the world is in a field near Buenos Aires, where he loves to walk along tree-lined streets or enjoy memorable naps among his dogs.
Above and Below: Javier Iturrioz with his beloved dogs.
"I wouldn’t trade that for anything," he says with a big smile.
He affirms that the weekend experiences in the countryside keep him inspired through the entire week. ■
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