Designer of the Day: Sempe Wonderful

The Parisian's fresh looks are all the rage.

With an illustrator father and an artist mother, Parisian industrial designer Inga Sempe is certainly to the manor born. Likewise all her designs, like extendable the Luce Plan lamp shown above, mix whimsy and function.

She opened her own design studio 12 years ago, and now works with Ligne Roset, Cappellini, and Baccarat. Above is Ruche, one of several pieces featuring a quilted blanket-like upholstery thrown over an austere frame, produced by Ligne Roset.

Satin-covered Chantilly by Edra is the perfect party piece. Soft and inviting, but with a place for drinks on top, it fits beautifully in a ballroom or marble entryway. It also looks like a kiddie magnet, so you might want to slipcover it in clear plastic before sending it out into the world.

I just can’t get enough of her spunky, disheveled look. Bravo, Inga. You’re no diva, just pure talent. And this wonderful little clip about her from a 2004 profile in the New York Times: “Articles about Sempe never fail to mention two things. First, that she hates being questioned about her father, Jean-Jacques Sempe, a cartoonist who has created more than 70 covers for The New Yorker (their relationship is said to be strained, and she never refers to him in conversation). Second, her prickliness. ”She’s very endearing, but people can find her to be a little cold and reserved,” Granier admits. ”She has a very forthright, strong personality.” Sempe certainly has strong ideas. She insists, for instance, that she has no interest in art. ”A corkscrew fascinates me more than a Manet painting,” she once opined. Still, as Putman is keen to point out, she is also delightfully witty: ”She’s extremely sensitive and uses humor as a shield.”