The clichés are enough to set you dreaming. One of the most ambitious hotel projects of recent years can be glimpsed beneath these...
Nicolas Flachot, the founder of is somewhat responsible for our historical heritage. This enthusiast collects and sells thousands of letters and typographical designs from old French shop signs. He’s always on the lookout for those from old restaurants, cafés, bars and haberdashery shops. They all have a story to tell and trigger emotions, like Proust’s Madeleine. His stock is full of amazing stuff from childhoods past. When it comes to his home, his office and his bedrooms, you can have great fun rearranging the letters to make your own words or messages.
Nicolas, when did you start Kidimo?
Kidimo started from an idea and my love for old shop letters, nearly ten years ago now!!
What gave you the idea and the desire to actually sell old shop signs?
When I was a teenager, I already enjoyed using letters. I used to make collages by cutting up the Globe magazine, which used great typography. A few years later, with the launch of Kidimo, I just changed materials, and paper gave way to metal! And I’ve always preferred originals to copies, vintage furniture to new…and so it was unthinkable to sell letters with no character, soulless, with no past and no story.
Which one is your favourite?
I pick up several thousand letters every year. I’m always amazed , even after ten years, to see the diversity in styles of lettering. My work also takes me on the hunt in other countries, which increases the surprise factor no end. I have to confess that I have a weakness for western- or circus-style lettering, with serifs and old-fashioned light bulbs.s.
What are your latest finds?
Some 3.60 metre-high letters, the tallest I’ve ever seen…an amazing find from an eastern European country
Do you have an interior design tip that you’d be willing to share with us?
Yes, personalisation! Match basic items with unique pieces to give individuality, personality, character and a bit of extra soul to your interior design.
Credits: Constance Gennari @thesocialitefamily