|An image from Vuitton's Fall Winter 2011 |
campaign. Red Guard goes S&M, with lovely
In 1859, Louis Vuitton purchased a plot of land just over an acre in size in the riverside village that was once the haunt of Monet, Manet, and many of the Impressionist painters during the 19th Century. Vuitton would build a factory on the site, which would remain the companies sole production facility until 1977. The whir of sewing machines and the sight of delivery trucks bearing freshly milled timber and leather for luggage would be commonplace. The facility is still in use today, producing Vuitton's trunks, case goods and custom orders.
|The Vuitton home has as much Art|
Nouveau decoration on the outside
as it does on the inside.
Vuitton's son, Georges, had a different idea for the design of the home. After his fathers death in 1892, Georges called on Louis Majorelle to redecorate the Billiard Room and Salon in the most luxurious and up to date style, Art Nouveau. A style truly fit for a luxury brand of that era and the family that built it. Majorelle, along with Louis Comfort Tiffany, Rene Lalique and Emile Galle, was one of the leading proponents of the Art Nouveau style which dominated the Decorative Arts from the 1890's through the early 1900's. It is this incarnation of the Vuitton home that is still seen today. The home is dramatic and beautiful; compelling with it's intricate leaded glass windows, soft ethereal colors and incredibly ornate plasterwork, but for all of its jaw-dropping qualities, it is seen not as a show piece or a museum, but a living home, designed with comfort and family in mind.
|A view into the Billiard Room with beautiful cove ceilings and stunning |
leaded glass windows. I am in love with those understated but dramatic
pendant fixtures above the pool table.
The characteristic sweeping whiplash curves and fantastic organic motifs fill the space with an almost dream-like effect. The leaded glass windows and interior are decorated with motifs that incorporate irises, poppies, nasturtiums, chrysanthemums, and clematis. Columns are formed from florid leaves and flowers, and ceilings are ornamented with delicate tendrils of hand sculpted plaster. The kitchen, also done during this time, is said to have had handmade tiles bearing the famous LV monogram, which was designed by Georges in 1897. Georges' widow, Josephine, was the last Vuitton to live in the family home. After her death at the age of 103, the house was gutted and converted to storage space and offices and the original furnishings dispersed among the family.
|An alcove off the Salon is defined by the intricately carved columns and is filled |
with eclectic furnishings such as the Beaux Arts settee, mahogany table and a bronze Crane.
|A bay off the Salon houses a circa 1900 English cane furniture suite and|
majolica style planters. The leaded window panes are dynamic with their
pencil thin whiplash curves and borders of leaded glass flowers.
|A most exquisite chandelier of gilded bronze|
and frosted glass leaves springs down from a whorl
of plasterwork tendrils on the Salon ceiling.
Matching sconces can be seen flanking the fireplace.
The Villa Vuitton stands as an emblem of the company's origins; a modest family home built by a proud patriarch and entrepreneur, then embellished by the heir apparent as the company grew. Beyond the established brand image, the home is more than just a status symbol, it is the people that make it a home. It's slamming doors and creaking floors and cracks in the plaster. A home tells volumes about it's family, all we have to do is be ready to observe and listen.
|The stunning turquoise ceramic mantelpiece was|
recreated and installed. Note the marvelous upward
sweep of the wainscot panels and the shield shape
of the mirror. Epic drama on a residential scale.
And look at the art pottery hearth! J'adore!