Interview with Ajiri Aki of Madame de la Maison

   661  
Interview with Ajiri Aki of Madame de la Maison
When author and tastemaker Ajiri Aki first came to Paris as a student to work on her master’s thesis for a few months, she had no idea her path would eventually lead her back. Born in Nigeria and raised in Texas, Ajiri was working in fashion in New York when she met her Swiss husband, Thomas Buchwalder. After a long-distance romance the couple were married in 2011 and decided to settle in Paris, where Thomas was already working as a film producer.   Although Ajiri found expat life a little lonely at first, she soon found her feet by hosting supper clubs and “salons.”  In 2018, her love of entertaining led to the creation of her unique lifestyle brand, Madame de la Maison. “Gathering was the way I made a community here in Paris and I was inviting friends over all the time and a friend said to me, ‘you’re so good at this and you love doing it’, so I decided to turn what was my passion, inviting people to my table, into a project, into my work.”  “Joie” Copyright © 2023 Ajiri Aki Photograph copyright © 2023 by Jessica Antola. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House. Initially the idea was to create table linens. “I knew I wanted to work with 100% linens and found a factory and had some samples made. I’d already been collecting antiques for a long time and I thought if I was already creating linens for the table, why not create a whole universe for the table? There’s already so many wonderful things out in the universe so why make new ones, as far as plates go.”    Art de la Table  Ajiri’s love of antiques runs deep. As a child, her mother would drag her around Austin to flea markets and garage sales, where she learned early on how to spot hidden treasure. After graduating with a degree in Fashion Promotion, she went on to study the Decorative Arts at Bard Graduate Center in New York. And with the move to Paris, she was suddenly in her element. “I was always interested in the decorative arts and it was really wonderful to come to France to actually see things at the flea markets that I focused on in my papers or lectures.”  And Ajiri is always on the lookout for beautiful and unusual antiques. Today, Madame de la Maison offers antique tableware and linens all carefully sourced and curated by Ajiri. “I love the Marché aux Puces de Saint–Ouen and there’s also the ephemeral flea markets that change locations across Paris.” She also offers a finders service for clients planning a special event, she will track down the perfect pieces for the occasion.     “Joie” Copyright © 2023 Ajiri Aki Photograph copyright © 2023 by Jessica Antola. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House.
  • SUBSCRIBE
  • ALREADY SUBSCRIBED?

Lead photo credit : “Joie” Copyright © 2023 Ajiri Aki Photograph copyright © 2023 by Jessica Antola. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House.

More in Interview, People

Previous Article Dazzling December: What to Do in Paris This Month
Next Article Christmas Concerts in Paris Churches


Originally from the U.S., freelance writer Alison Weeks spent seven wonderful years living in France (Amiens, Lille and Paris). Now based in the U.K., she still loves to get back outre-Manche as often as possible.