With stunning views of the Mediterranean from a rocky cliff on the Cote d’Azur, it’s a cultural hub, in that it has been rented out for Christian Dior fashion shows, Cannes Film Festival parties and private galas. But what should become of it now?
The Palais Bulles is part of a long history of artist homes along the French Riviera which I’m slowly exploring. Henri Matisse made nearby Nice his home in the 1930s, while artist Jean Cocteau lived at the Villa Santo Sospir on Cap Ferrat for months, hand-painting its walls. Another designer, Karl Lagerfeld, could be found at the Villa la Vigie not far from furniture designer and architect Eileen Gray’s white, minimal, 1929 villa. Not forgetting the final home of Pablo Picasso in Mougins which still stands today, though privately owned.
We have a lot of villas with provenance down here on the coast. It’s a tradition that reveals how life has changed over the years. Palais Bulles deserves to be open, visited and appreciated. Even better if there is the possibility to do research, artist residencies, or site-specific projects, or have visits from architecture and design schools, for students, as it’s an important piece of architecture.
The architect, Lovag, first designed the Palais Bulles as an experiment. He saw architecture as a “form of play—spontaneous, joyful, full of surprise,” and hated the straight line. He once called the straight line “an aggression against nature,” which was pretty radical for its time.
Pierre Cardin was a great designer; his avant-garde style and spaces were legendary. He had a really long and wonderful life, let’s hope his Palais does too.
(All images courtesy of Getty Images)