Savoir Faire and Innovation Symposium at Anderson House

The French-American Cultural Foundation presented a special day celebrating the art and design of France and America at the historic Anderson House on March 11. The foundation aimed to honor the past, celebrate the present, and build for the future of the Franco-American friendship through initiatives in the arts, sciences and business. Guests of this exclusive gathering were surrounded by the moving history and stunning architecture of the gilded mansion. The unique symposium Savoir Faire and Innovation” centered upon a conversation with Thomas Pheasant. 

The noted Washington, D.C. interior designer is internationally recognized for 30 years of creating interiors and was given the distinction as Dean of American Design by Architectural Digest U.S. in 2005. He is celebrated for his modern vision of classical design and new luxury in residential and commercial projects. Thomas led the panel with Valérie Maltaverne of YMER&MALTA, an acclaimed furniture designer whose passion pushes forward French arts and crafts with innovative momentum. They were joined by Olivier Gabet, general curator and director of the Department of Decorative Arts at the Louvre Museum.

The three experts engaged in a dynamic discussion of the French philosophy of Savoir Faire and the know-how tradition of its artisan community. There is a shared belief in the importance of the renewal of savior fair and the commitment to bring forward French ateliers’ highly skilled craftsmanship in contemporary design.

“The value of any piece of art is found within the ability of an artist to reveal both where he has been and where he is going,” Pheasant said. “This is the point of convergence amongst these leaders in design.”

Valerie’s exceptional pieces were examined for the unique techniques which pay homage to the tradition of French excellence in taste, style, and modernity in decorative arts. The collections of YMER&MALTA drew their inspiration from the extravagance of Versailles and the refinement of the Art Deco period: they induce forms of delicate poetry and great elegance.  

Gabet is a longtime acquaintance and enthusiastic supporter of the artistic director. He was eager to expose American designers and architects to his work. His own professional curations are focused on the latest developments in fashion and design, yet firmly committed to protecting the proficiency of world-class heritage.  

They were showcased with an intent to influence the younger generation.  

The programming continued with a delightful luncheon overlooking picturesque gardens and the opportunity to preview the foundation’s latest exhibit, “Fête Lafayette,” which marks the 200th anniversary of Lafayette’s tour of America. The day concluded with an interactive master class focused on educational leaders including Alexandra Deutsh, director of Winterthur Museum Garden & Library in Delaware. 

A collection of photos from the event can be found below. All photos are by Allyson Burkhardt.

Allyson Burkhardt is founder of Let’s Get Dressed! Image & Style Services. Go to to put your best look forward.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *