Within the framework of “Reenchanting the Villa Medici”, a call for applications is open until November 30, 3pm. It is aimed at multidisciplinary teams combining designers and architects, contemporary artists in team with art craftsmen. The goal? Give a new identity to 9 guest rooms of the Villa Medici.
Horace Vernet, Balthus, Richard Peduzzi… These directors of the Villa Medici have particularly marked the history of this headquarters of the French Academy in Rome, by major operations of redevelopment and renovation. “ The more a place produces history and becomes heritage, the stronger the reticence to a contemporary intervention” says Sam Stourdzé, current director of the Villa Medici. However, it is a challenge that he has chosen to take up by launching a vast redevelopment project “Re-enchanting the Villa Medici” by 2025.
For more than just refurbishing, it is a matter of “re-enchanting”, in other words, bringing together the ages, history and the present, in a villa with a strong symbolism, and above all an art center. To give an identity to spaces, to find forgotten uses, The creative multidisciplinarity that is specific to this place, bringing together design, excellent know-how and interior architecture are the driving forces behind this program, which has just been officially launched. “In the 21st century, the role of this house is to be a platform, where it may have been seen as an ivory tower,” insists Sam Stourdzé, who specifies that “our desire is to create a dialogue between fields of expertise. Through a re-furnishing campaign, It is a question of looking for different looks, which in a few years, will be the markers of an era. “Beware, the spirit is not that of a luxury hotel. What we are looking for are writings, a language. And to cite the example of what was done at the Villa Noailles.
Renovation of 9 guest rooms at the Villa Medici
Conceived as a “laboratory of ideas”, this project aims to bring together teams of designers and interior architects, with craftsmen, with total freedom of intervention.
These rooms are used by visiting guests, guest artists. They have a mezzanine and two blocks (a kitchenette and a bathroom). The call for applications, available here, is open until November 30 at 3pm. In December, six teams will then be preselected to prepare a project during a residency period. In February 3 teams will be selected to renovate the first 3 rooms by next fall.
The jury will be composed of Alberto Cavalli, executive director of the Michelangelo Foundation for Creativity and Craftsmanship and general curator of Homo Faber Event, Hedwige Gronier, head of cultural patronage at the Bettencourt Schueller Foundation, Hervé Lemoine, president of the Mobilier National, Christine Macel, director of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, India Mahdavi, architect, designer and scenographer, Isabelle Ponfilly, president of the board of directors of the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, and president of Homo Faber Event, director of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, India Mahdavi, architect, designer and scenographer, Isabelle de Ponfilly, president of the board of directors of the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, and Sam Stourdzé, director of the Académie de France in Rome – Villa Médicis.
This call will then be renewed every six months, on the same principle for the redevelopment of the following rooms. The construction budget per room is 60,000 euros. Applications may of course include potential external funding.
“Reenchanting the Villa Medici” : other phases of the program
In parallel with this call for applications, two other important phases of the Villa’s redevelopment are planned.
The first is the redevelopment of six reception halls – now almost exclusively storage space – which will be unveiled in mid-December 2022.
The second is the redevelopment of two exceptional rooms and exhibition spaces , which is expected to be presented in April 2023.
Long-term partners for the Villa
To carry out the different phases of this program, the Villa Medici is accompanied by important partners, such as the Mobilier national, the Fondation Bettencourt Schueller, the Fondation Banque Populaire and the Maison Treca. Thus, in addition to making pieces from its collection available, the Mobilier National provides its technical expertise, and even possible support for the prototyping of elements.
The Bettencourt Schueller Foundation is also a an essential player in this program, while opening up a broader partnership with the Villa Médicis: in particular, it supports the first residencies around the crafts : Mylinh Nguyen will arrive at the Villa in November, followed in the spring by the duo Caterina and Marc Aurel.
The Bettencourt Schueller Foundation also supports the Résidence Pro program for vocational and agricultural high schools, launched last year by Sam Stourdzé. In 2022, 300 students from the wood industry in the New Aquitaine region were welcomed for a one-week customized program, the culmination of work carried out throughout the year. In 2023, 600 students from the Grand Est and Provence Côtes d’Azur regions will be welcomed, focusing on the arts of the table and flavors.
A fine example ofSam Stourdzé’s vision anddesire to “decompartmentalize, deconstruct siloed approaches” and to “reinvent a principle of residences, like a population aggregator.