The beauty of suburban life is appreciated everywhere. And life in the south of France – especially. A lot of wealthy people from all over Europe, as well as from across the ocean, dream of a summer house in Provence. Especially in demand are authentic agricultural buildings – old farms, stables, barns, which as a result of reconstruction turn into comfortable villas with a unique color.
Among amateurs of the southern French nature is the American Armand Bartos. A well-known art dealer, he began his career in the department of contemporary art at the New York branch of Christie’s auction house. In the 1980s he founded his own gallery Armand Bartos Fine Art.
Noisy companies gather in the garden at a round table under the wild chestnut on summer evenings.
Many years spent in Provence vacation, renting a house, and in the end decided to buy here his own. His friend, the French painter and sculptor Bernard of Vienna, offered him a choice of three buildings on the grounds of his estate. He and his wife Diana did not need them. At first glance, Arman was fascinated by the ancient stone-built building, which had long stood in desolation.
A tall window in the bathroom turns the view into a picture. Three stone blocks replace furniture. One of them has a shell built in, the other two are fixed as stands for functional objects and works of art.
In the XVI and XVII centuries, there was a farm for the production of silkworms, during World War II there was a soldier’s canteen. In the 1960s and 1970s, the building became a warehouse. Before starting the reconstruction, Armand decided to look at similar facilities in the district and quickly became convinced that he was lucky – nothing could compare with his farm.
In the simple dining room, the simplest products of the Provencal land will taste. On the wall, the work of P. Doug “Pinto” – a toned photograph supports the palette of natural shades of the house.
Soon after the purchase, while in London on business, he got to talking with the gallery owner Victoria Miro. She invited him to see how her London home was built by the architect and designer Claudio Silvestrin. Arman liked the approach of the Italian maestro. They met and quickly found a common language.
The dining room is located immediately at the entrance to the house. From the almost always open door you can see a magnificent view. The dining table was designed by K. Silvestrin so that an ensemble with textbooks by designer H. Wegner CH24 Wishbone turned out. On the walls are two works – a photo of P. Doug “Pinto” and “Sunflowers” by M. Pistoletto.
Silvestrin has a special sense of space and materials. It is considered a conceptual author, while not forgetting about comfort. After eighteen months the house was completely transformed.
Entrance hall. On the white wall is the inscription B. Vienna.
Strict geometry was miraculously connected to freely flowing spaces. In all rooms, there is a significant meditative emptiness that looks both stylish and organic. It allows you to enjoy the peace and seclusion of suburban life.
The spacious living room, thanks to lancet windows, reminds of monastic architecture. All furniture is designed by K. Silvestrin. On the wall is the work of P. Sanguinetti Paradise and the vase of Puppy J. Koons.
Claudio Silvestrin – co-author of many projects of minimalist architect John Powson, himself – a true adept of natural materials. He not only feels their potential, beauty and environmental friendliness, but also, as a philosopher, constantly reflects and proves the necessity of our closeness to nature.
Bathroom in size is approaching the hall. Here there is the same Zen-Buddhist emptiness. The shower cubicle is not allocated either by partitions or by the doors, the watering can is mounted in a stone wall. Bath is hollowed out of a solid block: the project of K. Silvestrin.
“Ancient stone makes the form less decorative – gives it a depth. I am convinced that in the future more and more people will use exclusively natural materials. Because they have a soul in them. I will never use plastic in my work – even if I get paid by millions, “he said in an interview with INTERIOR + DESIGN.
The staircase leads to the second floor of the bedroom.
Silvestrin designs baths, kitchens and countertops of natural stone, and once he happened to work with marble of the Jurassic period, which is 150 million years old, in the project for the company Antolini. Here, in Le Mui, he laid out the floor with natural slabs, added curbstones instead of furniture and combined the stone with a simple tree.
In the bedroom there is the same chair by H. Wegner and a small sculpture by B. Vienna.
Actual luxury is increasingly built on self-restraint. Whoever comes to visit Arman in his French wilderness, everyone celebrates a special atmosphere. Ringing emptiness, large caesura between objects, open surfaces, the minimum number of works of art (although the collection of a professional dealer allowed to arrange a tapestry loophole from floor to ceiling) – all this allowed Silvestrine to achieve absolute purity.
Looking from one of the squares of the village of Le Mouy to the construction of the 16th century, there is no way to guess what exactly is behind the deaf wooden doors and how the space is solved.
As a minimalist composer, repeating the same consonance, Silvestrin in several rooms puts the same chairs of the Dutchman Hans Wegner: he created them for Carl Hansen & Søn in 1949. Selecting art, the owner of the house and the architect settled on photographs and sculptures of a small format. The images were consonant with the picturesque views from the windows, while the concise non-figurative sculptures emphasized the meditative nature of the space.