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Wednesday 12 Jun 2013
This project involves a castle built in 1725, but the main idea was to create a modern interior and not a museum.
A contemporary approach was adopted to restructure an eighteenth-century castle while respecting its true spirit, its historical roots and the “ghosts” that haunt it.
The ultimate objective was to yield a cosy, warm atmosphere, with consideration for the size of the rooms and the height of the ceilings, a task that at first sight was difficult to achieve.
In the early 1720s, François-Louis de Pesmes returned home and built the Baroque palace that stands here today. He was a military man and commander of the Danube fleet with which he fought the Turks.
The castle boasted an impressive collection of books and letters, widely considered the best in the region, collected over years of extraordinary travel.
The story goes that Voltaire, the famous philosopher who was visiting to admire the library, found him reading The Bible and mocked his faith. The former diplomat took umbrage and, turning to his servants, calmly ordered them to "harness the horses to the carriage of M. de Voltaire". Nothing more was said. The eighteenth-century’s pre-eminent luminary was unceremoniously thrown out into the cold night.
“For me, this story is an integral part of the site. The tale of Voltaire is thus part of this chateau’s genetic code. I therefore came up with the idea of bringing Voltaire back to the place from which he was banished all those years ago. I like doing things humorously. It is a tribute. The main idea actually came from him, so it is Voltaire’s fault!”
Every inch of the dining room walls were covered with the 3,000 pages of Voltaire’s lesser-known theatrical works. Individually pinned to the wall, they invite closer scrutiny of the man, his ideas and words. A bust of Voltaire himself has been illuminated in the form of a lamp and the keys of the château dangle from the light suspended over the table.
“Since I had invited Voltaire back, the idea also arose that I should give him back all the keys to the castle. Although this is just an anecdote, I also used it to give some sense to the space. In my opinion ideas in interior design must have a “raison d’être”. They do not need to be overtly stated, but things should not be imposed at random.
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