Pierre Yovanovitch’s revitalisation of Villa Noailles’ boutique in France

The French designer contextualises the vivid colours and refined craftsmanship in Villa Noailles, a historic modernist building in Hyères, in the south of France.

by Devanshi ShahPublished on : Feb 12, 2021

Pierre Yovanovitch founded his Paris-based design atelier, of the same name, in 2001. Known for his uncanny ability to modulate space, his projects range from residential and hospitality to commercial spaces. His ability to revitalise historic spaces, whether it be a penthouse in a landmark structure or a 17th century chateau, is a testament to his innate comprehension of contemporary lifestyle. While speaking with STIR, he elaborates on his design method, "I take a made-to-measure approach in both my interior-architecture practice and my furniture design. With a refined yet unpretentious sensibility, I strive to create spaces which are reflective of the spirit of the architecture as much as the personality of my clients".

Villa Noailles was built by French architect Robert Mallet-Stevens for art patrons Charles and Marie-Laure de Noailles in 1923 | Villa Noailles’ boutique | Pierre Yovanovitch  | STIRworld
Villa Noailles was built by French architect Robert Mallet-Stevens for art patrons Charles and Marie-Laure de Noailles in 1923 Image: Ralf Schernewski, Courtesy of Creative Commons

Yovanovitch's most recent project, the re-design of Villa Noailles’ boutique, emerged from his long-standing relationship with the villa and the centre’s associated festivals. An early modernist house, Villa Noailles was built by French architect Robert Mallet-Stevens for art patrons Charles and Marie-Laure de Noailles in 1923. Located in the town of Hyères in south-eastern France, the villa has become a significant cultural centre since its renovation, playing host to events such as Design Parade Hyeres. The importance and impact of this modernist structure is not one evaluated in mere retrospect. The structure was prominently featured in May Ray’s 1929 film The Mysteries of the Chateau of Dice (Les Mystères du Château du Dé).

During the villa’s restoration the space was enclosed with a glass facade and ceiling | Villa Noailles’ boutique | Pierre Yovanovitch | STIRworld
During the villa’s restoration the space was enclosed with a glass facade and ceiling Image: Courtesy of Luc Bertrand

The space currently occupied by the boutique was initially planned as an open common area, however during the villa’s restoration the space was enclosed with a glass facade and ceiling. Since 2014 the space has been re-envisioned and re-designed through a series of interaction between designer and artist, selected by Jean-Pierre Blanc, the director of the Villa Noailles. The project is usually designated to the artists who chair the juries of the villa’s festivals or former finalists of its competitions. The first development was entrusted to Nouvelle Affaire and the artist Baptiste Debombourg. Followed in 2015 by Jogging Marseille and the artist Gio Black Peter, BLESS in 2017, Vincent Darré in 2018 with Pierre Yovanovitch creating the most recent iteration of the boutique. This particular version marks Yovanovitch's second consecutive year designing the space.

Yovanovitch’s 2020 design is an innovative display featuring a playful colour palette | Villa Noailles’ boutique | Pierre Yovanovitch | STIRworld
Yovanovitch’s 2020 design is an innovative display featuring a playful colour palette Image: Courtesy of Luc Bertrand

Yovanovitch’s 2020 design is an innovative display featuring a playful colour palette, intricate motifs and custom-made furniture; the entire re-design is an homage to the building’s architectural history which is seamlessly interconnected to contemporary aesthetics. His approach to this project reflects his overall design process, as he mentions, “By allowing my intuition to guide all of my projects, I emphasise form, lighting and proportions of a space as well as the use of natural materials such as solid wood, marble, stone, bronze, metal, and ceramics. I work closely with specialty craftsmen throughout Europe to create exceptionally-crafted and uniquely designed furniture pieces which are meant to last a lifetime”.

Showcasing a strong visual style, the boutique plays with surfaces and colours in two distinct display ideas | Villa Noailles’ boutique | Pierre Yovanovitch | STIRworld
Showcasing a strong visual style, the boutique plays with surfaces and colours in two distinct display ideas Image: Courtesy of Luc Bertrand

Showcasing a strong visual style, the boutique plays with surfaces and colours in two distinct display ideas. One consists of individually framed niches, allowing for each object placed within them to hold on to its identity. It gives the space the appearance of a gallery, presenting each design displayed not just as an item of décor but rather as objects of art. The constant enveloping niches also bear an interesting analogy to Gabriel Guevrekian’s cubist grid design presented in the garden in the villa design. Another part of the boutique features accentuated arches. Here the colours are not restricted to the surface of the arches and the adjoining wall, but are also visible along the thickness of the arch. It is in these minute details that the colour story of the space truly comes alive. Yovanovitch further articulated his inspiration stating, “I wanted to create a colourful space which paid homage to the cubist history of the Robert Mallet-Stevens-designed building while also highlighting the objects on display, curated by Graziella Semerciyan Gallery. With the architectural roots of the building in mind, it was important to reflect the festival’s focus of supporting emerging and established designers with light-hearted, and eye-catching design focal points".

The constant enveloping niches also bear an interesting analogy to Gabriel Guevrekian’s cubist grid design presented in the garden in the villa | Villa Noailles’ boutique | Pierre Yovanovitch | STIRworld
The constant enveloping niches also bear an interesting analogy to Gabriel Guevrekian’s cubist grid design presented in the garden in the villa Image: Ralf Schernewski, Courtesy of Creative Commons

Finished along one side with the glass screen, the space also features a glass ceiling which is fixed with white drapes filtering in the light. The architecture of this particular space encourages porosity of experience, with the glass serving as a surface connection between the outside and the inside. The brilliance of Yovanovitch’s colour intervention transforms this interaction without diluting it. Through the glass-screen one can experience a more pronounced sense of interiority, that is still connected to the aesthetics and spatial experience leading up to it.

The Villa Noailles Pierre Yovanovitch–designed boutique will be open until the International Festival of Fashion, Photography, and Fashion Accessories in April 2021



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