Saturday, January 23, 2010

Favourite Designers Part II: Jacques Garcia...

Jacques Garcia, (born September 23, 1947) is a French architect and interior designer. He has designed many private residences, including his own, the revamped Chateau du Champ de Bataille. He is also noted for his hospitality design, designing many hotels including in Hotel Costes in Paris, Hotel Danieli in Venice, and Hotel Metropole in Monte Carlo.

Above: Foyer of the Hotel Danieli, Venice

Below: Hotel Costes, Paris

Hotel Metropole

Chateau du Champ de Bataille

The Château du Champ-de-Bataille, located in the region Haute Normandie, between the commune of Neubourg and Sainte Opportune du Bosc, in the Department Eure, is a baroque castle built in 17th century. It is situated in the Campagne du Neubourg between the rivers Risle and Iton.

The history of the castle goes back to the tenth century, went it was the site of a definitive battle, hence the name Champ-de-Bataille - Battlefield. The two families who reigned over the region under the French feudal system battled for power. They were led by Guillaume Longue Épée, and Robert le Danois. William (Guillaume) won, and with his victory, Normandy gained its independence.

Much later, in 1651, there was a seminal event: Marquis Alexandre de Créqui-Bernieulle (1628-1703), a friend of the Prince of Conde, was exiled to the region by Cardinal Mazarin, who governed France during the minority of Louis XIV. Crequi then decided to build a magnificent palace which recall the splendor of the Court that he would never know. He built the Château du Champ-de-Bataille between 1653 and 1665. Unfortuantely, Crequi died backrupt, but bequeathed the castle to his nephew, Anne-François d'Harcourt, Duc de Beuvron and governor of Normandy. At that time the house was very dilapidated. D'Harcourt then undertook considerable work to restore the glories of yesteryear. But the Revolution interrupted this gigantic task, which remained unfinished for generations.

It languished in the hands of several owners in a ruinous state until Jacques Garcia purchased it in 1999, and transformed it to the glorious house and gardens it is today.

Initially there were no gardens on the property, but Garcia designed the gardens from period plans.

Above: The French Parterres

Below: The Temple of Leda

Which leads to an elegant segue: the story of Leda and the Swan. This tale comes from Greek mythology. The legend recalls that Zeus came to Leda in the form of a swan and raped or seduced her on the same night she slept with her husband, King Tyndareus of Sparta. According to later Greek mythology, Leda bore Helen and Polydeuces by Zeus whilst bearing Castor and Clytemnestra Tyndareus. In some versions, she laid two eggs from which the children hatched.

Above: Reproduction of a lost Michaelangelo Painting of Leda and the swan

Below: The most famous depiction of Leda and the swan, by Leonardo da Vinci.

Below: A more controversial depiction (does one censor art?)

(If this offends anyone's sensibilities please let me know and I shall remove it directly)

"Leda and the Swan" is a poem by William Butler Yeats describing the swan's seduction of Leda.

A sudden blow: the great wings beating still
Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed
By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill,
He holds her helpless breast upon his breast.
How can those terrified vague fingers push
The feathered glory from her loosening thighs?
And how can body, laid in that white rush,
But feel the strange heart beating where it lies?
A shudder in the loins engenders there
The broken wall, the burning roof and tower
And Agamemnon dead.
Being so caught up,
So mastered by the brute blood of the air,
Did she put on his knowledge with his power
Before the indifferent beak could let her drop?

The Official website for his chateau is here


  1. Hello,

    I have that book already a couple of years, and the world Garcia creates is wonderful. I am a big fan of his work.




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