In August 2021, the team of Harper's Bazaar Vietnam visited the tropical house of Marielle Genet Rakotomalala, the Director of the Interior Design Company LifeStyle Connected.
Find the translated version of their article below and the original one on
Spacious, generous and full of life are words to describe the villa in Thao Dien, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, of the French interior designer, Marielle Genet Rakotomalala.
When we started taking photos, we discovered that Marielle Genet Rakotomalala's pose was unnatural, she immediately suggested: "I'll read a magazine by the pool! Harper's Bazaar, okay?" With that initiative, our team was swept away by the energy from the host until the end of the shoot.
Who is Marielle Genet Rakotomalala?
Marielle was born in Madagascar. She moved to France at the age of 17. In 2006, she and her family moved to Vietnam.
An energetic and creative woman, Marielle redesigned by herself most of the nearly 1,000 square meters without any educational background in architecture.
Marielle's expertise only involved history, marketing and hotel management, but she gradually developed an interest in interior design. After 20 years working for the prestigious hotel group Accor, she founded her own Interior Design company called LifeStyle Connected. Since 6 years, her design has been appealing to customers as diverse as Corporate Headquarter (Moet Hennessy, Merck, Capella Holding, Air France, VinaCapital…); Hotels & Resorts and upmarket Residences and Penthouses.
Designing a house with tropical inspiration
The house of the French Interior Designer Marielle Genet Rakotomalala consists of three main parts.
Her garden with swimming pool, the main house and the interior design company office. The yard is hundreds of square meters with a green lawn and a garage. Rows of tropical ornamental plants such as South American pineapple, ornamental palm, ornamental coconut, cactus... are stretching on both sides of the path. Going for a while, when you can see the swimming pool on the right, you have reached the main house. A gardener prunes and take care of the garden every day to keep the garden green.
Marielle shared, it took her nearly two months to rebuild the villa. She added an awning because she wanted to leave the lawn as it was before. The swimming pool was also redone. The corporate office is a two-story building built right next to the main house. Marielle has completely changed the landscape of the garden. This work is not simply about bringing trees into the garden. She had to choose the key positions, arrange the plants for a certain space.
Spacious open space
Each floor of the main house is 500 square meters. Upstairs is a private space. The ground floor is the family living space. This place is designed in the style of contemporary architecture mixed with Indochine touches.
To create space and openness, Marielle removed all the walls separating the rooms, connecting the reception hall, the living room and the kitchen into one space. Large windows maximize natural light. The furniture mainly uses wood materials, creating a luxurious look for the space. Curtains made of airy linen fabric. The floor carpets have boho motifs, completing the spacious beauty of the space.
As an explorer, with extensive experience in the travel industry, Marielle loves to collect Artworks. All over the house, there are many books and Indochina decorations. For example, Buddha heads, ceramic vases, wooden dolls of Cheo troupes, etc. She said that all the decorations in the house are souvenirs associated with the places she has visited.
Personal imprint in design
Each year, Marielle recreates the house during Têt - Vietnamese New Year. “Têt gives me a lot of inspiration,” she said. All the details of the house - big or small - were chosen by Marielle to create a joyful and familiar atmosphere.
For her, personal imprint is very important. The house should reflect the owner's lifestyle. Beautiful decoration is a holistic approach to the space being natural and comfortable.
Marielle often buys fresh flowers with all kinds and different colors. “Flowers brighten up the living space, bring joy, and improve the mood of the homeowner,” she said.
Lifestyle involves routines. If you have a healthy and modern lifestyle, you will interact better with advanced technology and be more open to the world,” concluded the French interior designer.
Discover more about Marielle Genet Rakotomalala