I met Anne Koch a few months ago through a mutual friend and we immediately clicked. Anne is an ex-new Yorker like myself and I like her exuberant energy and great style. Anne does set design and production for runway shows, fashion and beauty shoots, and also produces and acts in short films.
Where were you born and where did you grow up?
Atlanta, GA, USA. Grew up in Berlin, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, India and UK.
When and why did you move to Paris?
July 2012. To expand my company Anne Koch Studio, creating art installations and set design.
How did you get your start in set design and was it something you always wanted to do?
I knew I wanted to be hands-on + create environments.
My first taste of this incredible industry was through film, I was living in London and received a position on a Mike Figgis film called ‘Miss Julie’. It completely changed my world - I loved it. After three years of working side-by-side with the production designer on TV, film, fashion shows, and photo shoots, I moved to NYC to start my own company.
You lived in New York for a long period. What are some of the biggest differences between New York and Paris in terms of people, attitude, work, fashion, and day-to-day living?
Well, for a start, the French love to take their time. It was challenging to work in Paris with the same New York attitude I was used to. For some reason my requests were always answered by “c’est impossible!” This was incredibly frustrating to me, because the word “impossible” is simply not in my vocabulary. I try to start with a positive attitude, which more often than not is also met with a positive attitude. If something cannot be made or completed then we address the issue from another angle. Working this way includes everyone - when we all work towards a common goal. The end result is a happy one! In my experience working in Paris, you are first met with a wall of “Non’s”. After trying to explain the situation they become upset that you are trying to convince them otherwise. Then YOU become upset, get into an argument, and then voila, they turn around and get the project done – perhaps twice as long than in NYC but it is completed. I do have to say that the craftsmanship in France is impeccable. The extra time they take to build / craft a set is made up for in the beauty of their finishing attention to detail. New York could take some lessons from the Parisians on how to appreciate their time, reward themselves more often, and take breaks. We can learn from each other!
Who are some of your favorite people you have worked with?
David Bowie, Bill Murray… Carine Roitfeld is such a kind wonderful person. Paolo Roversi is a true gentleman. Sebastian Kim is a wonderful friend and a visionary in photography, and a killer dancer!
You design for runway shows, photo shoots and videos. What are the differences in each medium?
Timing – for shoots I may get up to one or two days notice.
Runway is always a few months, its crazy we have so long to plan for a show that lasts 7 minutes! My art films can be spur of the moment – when stars align for the best location / people/environment, or after years of lists, thought-boards, edits, re-edits. It can become a whole production, a life’s work.
Please tell us about your videos.
My art films are of me eating different foods all over the world. They tell a story of the world around us, each sharing a common theme, a repetition, and the ritual of eating.
Although I am the subject, the activity is happening around me, people looking on, and the background noise. The environment. A calm moment. A rhythmic meditation.
If there is one person, living or dead, you could style a photo shoot and design a set for, who would it be? Also, what would you design for them?
Michael Jackson. He is sorely missed. He was a child at heart, and knew how to have fun, spread love and bring light to hundreds of millions of people across nations, across skin-color, across generations.
I would love to design something more permanent than a set for him, something he could use + enjoy over many years – his dream house / dream garden. A secret magical staircase that would bring him to peace + tranquility – a room filled with clouds where he could be weightless.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what three clothing items or accessories would you have to have?
Probably the Martin Margiela duvet coat, because it would be both my clothing and my bed. “The Fountainhead“ by Ayn Rand, a car battery with transformer, my music collection, a sharp knife, a quartz crystal, and Mac lipstick in Ruby Woo – you never know when a pirate ship will sail past…
What do you prefer about Paris?
The Beauty! The Food! The Ease of Life! The architecture! The Seine! Ile Saint Louis!
Top photo of Anne by Robert Sibson
I am pleased as punch to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Tours, which are 3-hour walking tours I will personally be leading. The Eye Prefer Paris Tour includes many of the places I have written about such as small museums & galleries, restaurants, cafes & food markets, secret addresses, fashion & home boutiques, parks, and much more.
Tours cost 210 euros for up to 3 people, and 70 euros for each additional person. I look forward to meeting you on my tours and it will be my pleasure and delight to show you my insiders Paris.
Check it out at www.eyepreferparistours.com
Click here to watch a video of our famous Marais tour
New! Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes
I am happy to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes. Come take an ethnic culinary journey with me and chef and caterer Charlotte Puckette, co-author of the bestseller The Ethnic Paris Cookbook (with Olivia Kiang-Snaije). First we will shop at a Paris green-market for the freshest ingredients and then return to Charlotte's professional kitchen near the Eiffel Tower to cook a three-course lunch. After, we will indulge in the delicious feast we prepared along with hand-selected wines.
Cost: 185 euros per person (about $240)
Time: 9:30AM- 2PM (approximately 4 1/2 hours)
Location: We will meet by a metro station close to the market
Class days: Tuesday,Wednesday, Thursday,Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
Minimum of 2 students, maximum 6 students.
Click here to sign up for the next class or for more info.
I am happy to announce the sale of a new set of prints of my Eye Prefer Paris Photos. I am offering 20 of my most popular and iconic images for sale including my doors, architectural details, statues, and monuments. They will make great gifts for all your Francophile friends, relatives, and colleagues but don't forget to buy some for yourself.
Click here to see photos and for full details including sizes, prices, and shipping. Here is a sample of some of the photos.