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Casa Batlló,Baecelona, Spain
Bubble Palace, France - Leading Landmarks
666    Dibyendu Banerjee    27/07/2023

Located in Théoule-sur-Mer, on a rocky cliff of Massif de L’Esterel, a volcanic mountain range overlooking the Mediterranean Sea on the French Riviera, just a few miles from Cannes in the South of France, the Bubble Palace, locally called Le Palais Bulles or Maison Bulle is a futuristic house and an architectural wonder, rigorously composed of rounded shapes and carefully designed avoiding straight lines.

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Commissioned by French industrialist Pierre Bernard, the Hungarian architect Antti Lovag designed and constructed the incredible building between 1975 and 1989, covering a massive area of 13,000 square feet, without corners or edges to provide maximum space necessary for primordial human needs, yet somehow achieved to maintain references of prehistoric caves.

bubble palace france
bubble palace france

Born in Hungary in the 1920s, Antti Lovag, the designer and architect of the Bubble Palace, completed his first course of Naval Architecture in Stockholm, Sweden and moved to Paris in 1947, after moving several years between Turkey, Finland and Sweden and serving as a fighter pilot in World War II. Following his early research in the 1950s, working beside Jean Prouvé and Vladimir Bodiansky, he began to consider a radically different architecture in the early 1960s and started to work with Jacques Couelle, one of the first architects to develop an organic architecture style in France, experimenting with him on concrete shells and other bubbles employing various techniques. He was intensely inspired by the forms of nature to imagine a more natural home in harmony with human morphology.

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He hated straight lines as aggression against nature, but felt that human beings are constrained to keep them confined to cubes full of dead ends and angles, which impede our natural movement and break our harmony. He believed conviviality is a circular phenomenon and similar to a circular field of vision, the motion of our arms and legs throughout space trace circles. He explored this idea throughout his career, building prototypes and experimental structures, reflecting his theories on the human body and the occupation of space, which explains the complexity of spherical and spheroidal rooms that constitute Palais Bulles.

bubble palace france

Antti Lovag designed the Bubble Palace as a form of play, which was spontaneous, joyful and full of surprises. Sitting on the hilly terrain with an extensive landscape, the palace, an incredible structure and among the most unusual in the world, resembling an ensemble of various sizes and shapes of bubble clusters with terracotta-coloured domes, overlooking the sea while facing the breathtaking bay of Cannes, is one of the significant examples and one of the classics of modern architecture.

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The strange palace, containing three swimming pools, basins and fountains enriched by water features, along with a splendid tropical garden, comprises a huge reception hall, panoramic lounge and an open-air amphitheatre with 500 seats. Apart from that, it is equipped with 29 rooms, including 10 bedroom suites and 11 bathrooms, each of which was meticulously decorated. In fact, the entire interior of the place, including the long hallways and the bubble-shaped rooms, was decorated like an artwork, embellished with the murals created by Patrice Breteau, Gérard Le Cloarec, François Chauvin, Daniel You and Jérôme Tisserand.

bubble palace france
bubble palace france

After Pierre Bernard died in 1991, Pierre Cardin, the fashion designer, known for his avant-garde style, bought the property and used it as his temporary summer residence as well as the location for some of his most spectacular fashion shows. Although the radical spherical building block is a foil to the known rules of architecture and the known conventions of the standard orthogonal system, it seemed to be custom-built for Cardin, for his long association with Space Age Futurism and had his first solo success with a bubble dress in 1954. He confessed it as his own bit of paradise, a museum where he exhibited the works of contemporary designers and artists and arranged several unforgettable parties, hosting famed celebrities on those magical evenings.

bubble palace france

Under his ownership, the Cannes complex became a magnet for stars like the beautiful French actress Marion Cotillard, Welsh actor and musician Rhys Ifans, American actress, Dakota Fanning and Pierce Brosnan, the fifth actor to play secret agent James Bond in the Bond film series and even Prince Harry's ex- fiancé Cressida Bonas, all of whom attended the shows, posed or partied under its terracotta-coloured bubbles.

bubble palace france

In addition to hosting star-studded parties after the end of the Cannes Film Festival and major fashion galas such as the Dior Cruise Collection 2016, Cardin rented out the unique Bubble Palace for hosting commercials, artistic and other social events for around €30,000 per day. In 2017, the property was on the market for sale at €350m, which made it one of the most expensive properties in Europe at the time, but did not find a buyer to date. After Pierre Cardin died on 29 December 2020, at the mature age of 98, it has been suggested by many quarters that the huge building be turned into a public venue for art exhibitions.

Casa Batlló,Baecelona, Spain
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Author Details
Dibyendu Banerjee
Ex student of Scottish Church College. Served a Nationalised Bank for nearly 35 years. Authored novels in Bengali. Translated into Bengali novels/short stories of Leo Tolstoy, Eric Maria Remarque, D.H.Lawrence, Harold Robbins, Guy de Maupassant, Somerset Maugham and others. Also compiled collections of short stories from Africa and Third World. Interested in literature, history, music, sports and international films.
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