Paris gets all the credit. In fairness, it’s well-deserved: Between chic boutique hotels and immersive shops, the capital city is definitely a hub of creativity, but it doesn’t hold a monopoly on cool French design. For proof, look to Folks, a virtual concept store based in Lyon. Its incredible selection of unique styles and up-and-coming designers puts it on par with the buzziest of boutiques. For those in the know, it’s a must-bookmark.
Folks was founded in late 2017 by Thaïs Gaillard and Marie Gireud. The high school friends had always shared a passion for design but ended up on different paths—Gaillard, in the field of contemporary art, and Gireud, a legal advisor. After realizing they wanted to start something together, they kick-started their brand. You might say Folks is one of the most successful high school passion projects to date.
“We really wanted to create an alternative concept, something different,” explains Gireud. “Our goal is to highlight emerging designers and create a link between them and the decor aficionados who want to buy items different from what you might find in every single home decor shop.”
In that regard, Folks is definitely different. From sleek minimalist pieces to eclectic sculptural objects—do not sleep on its collection of modular candlesticks—the range of products is a huge draw. And unlike many concept stores, Folks actively tries to spotlight new design. Each designer gets their own full page, with a story about their background and links to the products. For decor fans, it’s a great way to discover new talent; it’s almost like a virtual museum.
“We usually find the designers running salons and fairs or through our personal network and Instagram,” says Gaillard. “We choose what we love, what we find beautiful and innovative, and what we would buy for our own interiors.” Hint, hint: If you want to be up to speed on cool French design names, the cofounders currently have their eye on Pia Chevalier and Atelier Sauvage.
Of course, Gaillard and Gireud have their own personal inspirations: The furniture of the 1920s, for example, or 1960s to 1990s Italian design through the lens of the Castiglioni brothers and Ettore Sottsass. However, Folks is more of a melting pot; the duo wants to introduce a new generation of brands and designers who appeal to a range of personal styles.
Looking to add European flair to your own space? Here are some of our favorite finds from Folks.
For your kitchen
From the French city of Besançon, designer Mélitine Courvoisier is offering up some porcelain goodies that are a true minimalist dream. Available in a range of cool tones and neutrals, the spoons and bowls are perfect for the homeowner looking to branch out to more design-minded kitchen essentials. Keep both on display in your space; the bowls, stacked neatly on your open shelves or bar cart, and the spoons stored together in a glass jar for just a hint of color.
For your flowers
If you have a thing for European brands, you likely already know Los Objetos Decorativos’ ubiquitous shell-shaped ceramics. Scoop one up if you haven’t already and use to house your favorite blooms (we love the terra-cotta hue). Conversely, go for a 3D look with Polish studio UAU Project’s green vase. It uses 3D-printing technology and biodegradable, renewable materials to form the ultimate form-meets-technology piece.
For your mantel
It seems that all the coolest French It girls have an impressive mantel display; play the part with an enviable vignette of your own. Whether you have a legit fireplace or are faking it with a floating shelf-and-mirror situation, your space deserves some finishing touches. We recommend this sculptural candlestick for a burst of color and contemporary design; or if you favor a more minimal look, try this monochrome striped candle.
For your living room
The totally customizable “Neptune” lamp is one of the coolest table lamps we’ve ever seen. Request a personalized look by mixing the colors of the base and round shade—it’s bespoke on a budget. If you want to go a little bigger, you could bring a pop of color to your space with a sunny yellow accent chair. Bodegón Cabinet’s option is great for holding extra books (if you don’t mind a rustic, slightly imperfect look in lieu of a proper bookshelf).