Interview | Humbert and Poyet, the Monaco designers who don’t “shy away from anything”

One is a Parisian interior architect, the other is a Monegasque interior designer. Together, they have built a budding empire designing the interiors of luxury hotels, private residences and upscale restaurants in primate locations around the world, but it was in Monaco that Emil Humbert and Christophe Poyet got their start.  

Emil Humbert, who is a CFAI interior architect, had been in the midst of finishing his studies at the prestigious Académie Charpentier in his native city of Paris when he met his future business partner.  

“He had studied interior design in Paris as well,” he says of Christophe Poyet, who is a certified DPLG architect and a former student of the Ecole Nationale d’Architecture Paris-Belleville. “When Christophe graduated, we worked together on a first residential project in the Carré d’Or [of] Monaco. It worked out really well, and the Humbert & Poyet agency was born.” 

A glimpse of one of Humbert & Poyet’s residential projects in Monaco. Photo credit: Francis Amiand

That was in 2007, and for the next 15 years, the duo has collaborated on project after illustrious project in the Principality and, gradually, further afield.  

“In the detail to the max” 

The Humbert & Poyet style is versatile yet recognisable. Rich in detail and texture, monochromatic in one setting, but vibrant and opulent in another.  

“It’s a flamboyant style that expresses joie de vivre and doesn’t shy away from anything,” says Emil. “We work on the effects of materials and textures, combining them together.” 

“We work in detail to the max,” adds Christophe. “For example, we’ll highlight a wood by combining it with brass, or we’ll work with marble in three different ways – smooth, rough and bush-hammered – to juxtapose the tactile properties and shiny [or] matt effects of each material.” 

The designers play with materials, texture and colour, but one element remains the same: the level of detail in their designs. Photo credit: Francis Amiand

This embracing of variety in materials and tones is what makes their style so adaptable to different projects, from the residential commissions that brought Humbert & Poyet into being to the restaurant scene that they dominate in the Principality.  

Among those hospitality projects are: Izakaya Cozza, a chic rendering of Japanese cuisine with dashes of salmon-coral and gentle shoreline blue; Song Qi, with its ornate yellow gold against a delicious green velvet and striking monochrome backdrop; and the decadent, but firmly masculine Beefbar Monaco.  

Beefbar, the flagship brand in the Riccardo Giraudi Hospitality Concepts group, took the Humbert & Poyet agency international.  

See more: Interview: Restaurant guru Riccardo Giraudi

The duo say that the Beefbar Milan address was particularly enjoyable to design as they were able to work within an important heritage space; it opened in early 2023 at the five-star Hotel Portrait Milano that is itself located in one of the oldest archiepiscopal seminaries in Europe, the Piazza del Quadrilatero.  

Emil and Christophe have also worked on the bejewelled Paris branch, an Art Déco fantasy on the Rue Marbeuf, and Hong Kong’s sophisticated outlet, as well as the open-air Malta and Athens restaurants. Mexico’s Beefbar was also designed by the pair and offers perhaps the strongest echoes of the original.  

“Our main focus always revolves around reconnecting the interiors with a certain space and time. It is important for us to preserve and maintain the soul of the restaurants, while enhancing their unique characters through timeless design elements.”

Asked about their future plans, Christophe reveals to Monaco Life, “The next one will be in New York and it is a Beefbar again! Located on the corner of two streets in the Tribeca district, the establishment is set in a stunning space of 3,500m2 space with Art Déco details, developed by Tribeca Hospitality Group.” 

Their connections with Giraudi, easily one of Monaco’s biggest names in hospitality, run deeper than Beefbar, however, and the restaurant magnate has entrusted the design of several of his other addresses to Emil and Christophe, including Izakaya Cozza and Song Qi, but also establishments outside of the Principality.

Rich in natural materials and earthy tones: African Queen in Beaulieu-sur-Mer. Photo credit: Claire Israel

One of the designers’ most recently completed projects is the legendary African Queen in nearby Beaulieu-sur-Mer.  

“When talking about our approach to re-designing restaurants and more particularly the African Queen, our main focus always revolves around reconnecting the interiors with a certain space and time,” says Christophe. “It is important for us to preserve and maintain the soul of the restaurants, while enhancing their unique characters through timeless design elements. We tend to combine noble and natural materials whose textures and colors combine to create elegant and luxurious settings. “ 

See more: The African Queen of Beaulieu reopens with a new look for a new era

Elsewhere in France, the strikingly urban Ultimate Provence resort, particularly given its rural vineyard setting in La Garde-Freinet, has Emil and Christophe to thank for its design as does the 55 Croisette boutique in Cannes. 

With so many incredible projects already under their belt, it is hard to pick a standout, but the residential 26 Carré Or development on the Avenue de la Costa in Monaco is easily high on the list. 

Emil Humbert and Christophe Poyet were given a carte blanche when it came to the interior design of the 26 Carré Or in Monaco. Photo credit: Francis Aimand

In conjunction with Monegasque architect extraordinaire Alexandre Giraldi, who designed the exterior, Emil and Christophe were gifted with the task of imagining the interior.  

“The 26 Carré Or building in Monaco is probably one of our most favourite projects,” say the duo. “We were lucky to have a client, the Segond family, who trusted us completely to create a unique decor and give us total carte blanche.” 

The stunning realisation of their design won Emil and Christophe an esteemed FD100 award, which was given to them personally by French President Emmanuel Macron at the Palais de L’Élysée.  

“It was a very special moment for us,” they tell Monaco Life. 

The 26 Carré Or project is a reflection of their unique aesthetic: “a flamboyant style that expresses joie de vivre and doesn’t shy away from anything.” Photo credit: Francis Amiand

After New York and the next installment in their Beefbar partnership, there are still more private residences, hotels and restaurants in the pipeline in Europe, the USA, the Middle East and Asia for the designers.  

“We are both based in Monaco, but we have to travel a lot to check the construction sites of our projects,” say the pair. “We are open to all challenges. For example, a dream project would be a grand Italian villa or palazzo in Tuscany as we have loved working on projects that incorporate heritage, such as the Beefbar Milan… Indeed, the Coquelicot, A Belmond Boat project is our first venture into boating design. We would love to do a superyacht in Monaco!” 


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Main photo credit of Christophe Poyet, left, and Emil Humbert, right: Claire Israel