Houses of Wonder in the gardens of the Casino Square
On Friday, October 3, 2014, Prince Albert cut the ribbon for the inauguration of the Pavillions Monte-Carlo in the Boulangrins gardens of the Casino Square. The privileged guests who were invited to this special occasion were treated to Perrier Jouet champagne and delicious canapés during their stroll, happy to discover the new home of their favorite brands. Each boutique that has already moved to their new temporary home was free to arrange the interior as they pleased using their creativity and flair, with the only limitation of not touching the metallic structure. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the materials used and the ingenious design of the spaces, making it difficult to believe that they will be there only for a few years as they seem built to last! For example, AKRIS built an spiral staircase that makes the space really beautiful. Now the public will be able to judge by themselves.
Among the visitors I spotted Bryan Gray Yambao, also known as Bryanboy, a Filipino fashion blogger, socialité and businessman. A former web developper who started blogging at age 24. His eponymous blog won the 2007 Philippine Blog Award for Best Fashion and Lifestyle Blog. He was named one of the nine hottest internet celebrities by the New York Times. He has been featured on the panel of Cycle 19 American’s Next Top Model, as the social media correspondent.
Architects Cherif Jahlan and Richard Martinet collaborated closely with landscape architect Jean Mus, in the design and construction of this rather ephemeral but innovative installation of 2,500 m2. The five giant pebbles measuring from 220 to 600 m2 and composed of 500 custom made panels, will house the luxury Boutiques in the Sporting d’Hiver and those in the Avenue des Beaux Arts during the four years that will it take to build the future Sporting designed by Lord Richard Rogers of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners.
Cherif Jahlan refers to the structure as Pavillons des Merveilles that would translate to Houses of Wonders. Jean Mus a passionate by nature wanted “people to have the impression they walk through a Jasmine field” with Palm trees, citrus fruits trees and birds of paradise. The place will be open day and night even when the boutiques are closed, carefully supervised by cameras and illuminated.
The SBM (Societe des Bains de Mer) originally wanted to build in the Belle Époque style but it was deemed not appropriate for a short-lived structure. The trees and plants that were in the original beautiful French gardens were carefully transplanted elsewhere, to be reinstalled when the temporary structure is removed by 2018. Apparently the giant pebbles will not be able to be reassembled at another place because they surface where they were built is not flat.
Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
Richard George Rogers, Baron Rogers of Riverside (b.1933 in Florence from Italian parents) is a British architect noted for his modernist and functionalist designs in high-tech architecture. He is best known for his work on the Pompidou Center in Paris, the Lloyd’s building and Millennium Dome also in London plus others elsewhere. Rogers is a winner of several important awards.
While studying at Yale, Rogers met fellow architect student Norman Foster and planning student Su Brumwell. In the early 60’s together with Wendy Cheeseman who later married Foster, and Brumwell who wed Rogers, they set up architectural practice as Team 4, earning a reputation termed as high-tech architecture. Later the team split up and in 1977 Rogers created the Rogers Partnership that then became the architectural firm Stirk Harbour + Partners that is owned by a charitable trust. It is interesting to point out that in May 2006, Rogers’ practice was selected as the architect of Tower 3 of the new World Trade Center in New York City, replacing the one destroyed in September 11 attacks.
The practice is strongly focused on sustainability, urban regeneration and social awareness, themes that have long been a feature of Roger’s work. Their aim is a celebration of public space and the encouragement of public activities.
The objective of the new project on the site of the Sporting d’Hiver and surrounding areas, is to upgrade a superb site located in the heart of Monte-Carlo. The projected urban development will consist of residential, commercial and cultural areas that will take four years in the making. Monaco is like a chameleon constantly changing and renewing itself.