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Danièle Gerkens, Editor-in-Chief of ELLE Decoration France, tells us how she’s been working on three magazines from home

JUN 25, 2020 | By ELLE Decoration network
(L-R) Danièle in her pristine workplace; Detail of knick knacks on her desk

For the last 15 years, Danièle has been working for the ELLE Decoration brand—first as a journalist and since 2019 at her current role. She loves colours, gardening, travelling, going to art exhibitions and reading. She truly believes that social changes and industrial transformations have a huge impact on the way we live, decorate and think about our homes.

How have you set the mood to work efficiently from home?
Every morning, around 9am, I turn on my computer, with my teapot (I love Japanese green tea!) next to it. I divide my time between three magazines (ELLE Decoration, Art & Decoration, ELLE à Table), so I have lot of team meetings, phone calls, files to check and read. Everyday, I try to update my to-do list to balance my professional and personal life.

Are there any hobbies that you’re indulging in while confined?
Afraid not! Too much work. But I had the opportunity to enjoy spring at my countryside house and I enjoy gardening.

Who is your greatest inspiration?
That would be my predecessor Sylvie De Chirée. She trusted me, trained me and I’ve always been impressed by her culture, liberty, grace and creativity.

How has WFH changed the way you and your team work?
My teams have found more independence and creativity. It was both shaky and challenging. Remote working showed us that we’re able to produce beautiful magazines, while not working from the same place every day. I think that we’ll be able to imagine another way of working in the coming months. This time has also really highlighted the importance of the ability to delegate more, to calm down after years of ‘workaholism’ and to imagine new content.

What is your most treasured possession?
My memories. And, perhaps, a wonderful small knife that I use every day.

Your current favourite design object…
For the moment, I’m dreaming about lamps—especially the Oluce Atollo Lamp and Flos’s Snoopy Lamp. Also, the new red lipsticks by Hermès, which look like sculptures!

A book you’d happily read over and over again…
La vie sexuelle des cannibales by J Marteen Troost—one of the funniest book ever (not at all about cannibals or sexuality). I also enjoy Le monde d’hier: souvenirs d’un européen by Stefan Zweig. It’s my favourite book by the author and it talks about the loss of his world (Vienna city) in the beginning of the 20th century. 

Your all-time favourite architects…
Gio Ponti for his liberty, Ray Eames for his vision, and the 18th century English landscape architect Capability Brown for his gardens. 

A promising product designer from France to watch out for…
Emmanuelle Simon, a talented young architect and designer. I especially like her Nativ couch!

Once the travel ban is lifted, where would you first travel to?
I would like to go to Italy, one of my favourite countries for culture, history and design…. Perhaps, Milan or Venice.

Scroll to see a view from her home office

View of the quiet street outside her home