There comes a point for every serious art collector when all that canvas and twisted steel starts to get in the way. The collection needs its own space, a place to breathe and be seen to its best advantage. When a Corsican businessman, having amassed that kind of stockpile, contracted South African architecture studio Saota to design a new home on Lake Geneva, it suggested creating a standalone private gallery. The house’s main living quarters – by design, too light-filled and lake-and-Alp framing to be a proper place for art appreciation – could then stay largely art-free, except for the odd judiciously placed Fontana and Hiquily.
Plans drawn up – including a zinc-clad three-storey gallery – and foundations laid, our committed collector turned to Paris-based Thierry Lemaire, an architect turned-interior designer who has built his reputation with a series of apartments and chalets in Geneva and Gstaad, cinematic spaces of dark masculinity that pay homage to a particular sort of 1960s glamour.
Lemaire was charged with every element of the interior design, bar a black metal spiral staircase in the gallery space. And while the dedicated art building – including a gallery within a gallery flanked by angular arches and a glass box that helps to pull in diffused light – required ‘white cube’ restraint, Lemaire could go full tilt at the main house.
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