A family in fabrics
Growing up nearby her father’s fabric wholesale, Hella Pais’ love for fabrics started at an early age. When she was eighteen years old, she started working at his bustling boutique on the Kalverstraat (a busy shopping street in the heart of Amsterdam), where Dutch fashion designer Frank Govers organised several fashion shows. Together with her father, Hella Pais regularly travelled to Paris, Turin and Florence to look at the latest fashion trends and select collections for the boutique. By doing so, she became familiar with different materials and styles and developed her sense for colour and quality.
During a summer vacation with the family in a small village in the Provence in the early nineties, Hella Pais met a Française who was braiding lavender balls with beautifully coloured ribbons. This is an ancient French custom that is performed every year while the lavender is in bloom. Hella was touched by the smell, beauty and romance of this custom and asked the French lady if she could make a large supply within a week’s time. Subsequently, the whole village turned up to lend her a hand. Hella took the lavender with her to the Netherlands, where she sold it to interior decoration and flower shops, which would turn out to be the beginning of hella pais interieurs.
Private paint label
Hella Pais returned to the Provence regularly and gathered more and more contacts, from local brocantes to established furniture manufacturers. During that same period Hella’s love for colour in interior design arose, which inspired her to develop her own paint label. Paintings by Cézanne, Picasso and Matisse have always been major sources of inspiration for her use of colour. Interior decorating assignments started to roll in and hella pais interieurs was born.
hella pais interieurs opened in the mid-1990s in an old factory building at the Prins Hendrikkade in the centre of Amsterdam. Using a lot of colour in interior decorating was unusual at that time. Hella wanted to change this. At this point she also started a long-lasting collaboration with Designers Guild, a brand that excels in its use of color.
A couple of years later hella pais interieurs moved to the Beethovenstraat in Amsterdam Zuid. At this location Hella started to work with artists more often. She regularly organized shows with the work of artists like Han Ebbelaar and Ellen Hendrix, both of which she still works with today.
Laan der Hesperiden
At present, the shop is located on the Laan der Hesperiden, on the right hand side of the Olympic Stadium, next to the Stadiongracht. This industrial space reminds most of a colourful artist studio in which interior design is like painting in 3D. This location allows for a more personal approach. It gives Hella Pais the space to give customers extensive advice, while they enjoy looking at the latest interior design collections, the paint collection, music, several art books and interior design magazines.