9 Architects / 9 Proposals for Living
Villa Noailles, Hyères, France
19th February – 25th March, 2012
The slick photography and artistic impressions – like those above – that appears in architectural magazines or online, commissioned by the architects with a view to amazing us all – often with due cause – is as close as the public are ever usually allowed to get to architect-designed, one-off homes. The idea behind this Villa Noailles show is to try to provide visitors with a revealing peep behind the scenes. And the exhibition setting is perfect; designed in 1923 and inhabited from 1925, the Villa Noailles was one of the very first modernist homes constructed in France. Now a cultural centre, the original villa, built for Charles and Marie-Laure de Noailles by the architect Robert Mallet-Stevens, who first came to prominence as a film set designer, exhibits the founding tenets of the rationalist movement: practicality, absence of decorative features, flat roofs, terraces, light, hygiene, while also managing to resemble an ocean liner perched on top of Montée Noailles, a steep-sided rocky outcrop above Hyères, not far from Toulón in the south of France.
Museum director Jean-Pierre Blanc and associate curator, architect and writer Florence Sarano, the duo responsible for last year’s Iwan Baan: 2010 Around the World – The Diary of a Year of Architecture at Villa Noailles, chose 9 buildings in Europe designed by 9 different architects, or architectural practices, and minutely examined each. Their aim was to explore the universe of the architect, to look closely at, in each case, the trains of thought, the processes of creativity and the architect/client relationships that led to the realisation of the unique final building, then to put it all on show. Visitors will see sketches, plans, photographs, models, texts and 9 films, through which they can weave and navigate their own way, comparing and contrasting each case scenario.
See also Dada’s Cubist Garden featuring photographs taken at the Villa Noailles
Typography and montage above by Pedro Silmon
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