At the beginning, there is a place and a landscape that Pierre Bernard, a rich industrialist, falls in love with: the Estérel massif, the infinite Mediterranean, the bay of Cannes and the Lérins islands. He buys a piece of land with a plan: to build a holiday home for his family of three children.
He met the architect and habitologist Antti Lovag by chance at a dinner party. According to family legend, Lovag shattered his initial project by brutally questioning his architectural choice. This initial provocation was to seal the beginning of a long friendship and a wonderful adventure: Pierre Bernard’s first Bubble House.
An unprecedented design and a masterpiece of late 20th century architecture. This house was conceived and built totally to measure in the 1970s, putting man at the centre, his living space and his needs. Each bubble represents a room in the house and recalls the mother’s womb.
PIERRE BERNARD THE FRIEND AND PATRON
For twenty years, Pierre Bernard gave Antti Lovag the means to realise his ideas and develop his art as a habitual architect. This extraordinary creation has neither deadlines nor budgets. Pierre Bernard gave Antti Lovag the opportunity to experiment freely with materials, layout and to develop innovative construction techniques using the concrete wall. It was during these years and thanks to Pierre Bernard that he developed his own architectural identity. At the end of the construction of the Maison Bernard, neither of them wanted to finish the adventure. They then embarked on the construction of the Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur in Caussols and then on the construction of a new house which was acquired by Pierre Cardin on Pierre Bernard’s death: Le Palais Bulles, which only hosted private events such as the Dior haute couture shows.
ANTTI LOVAG, THE NON-CONFORMIST HABITOLOGIST
Born in 1920 in Hungary, Antti Lovag moved to France in 1947. He first collaborated with Jean Prouvé and then with Jacques Couëlle, one of the first architects (totally outside the major architectural movements such as modern architecture) to develop organic and troglodytic architecture-sculpture in France. Together they experimented with the construction of shells and bubbles. This collaboration was decisive for the rest of Antti Lovag’s work.
He designs spaces of freedom where the unnatural right angle has no place and where curves are king.
Antti Lovag lives on his building sites, studying the surrounding nature and its specificities to design the house. It is the house that adapts to the land and nature, not the other way around. The house begins to emerge from the ground by means of a metal frame that allows the interior spaces to be visualised and the future openings to the sky, the sea and the vegetation to be planned. Then a concrete veil is projected onto the metal structure. The Maison Bernard is without doubt one of the most accomplished examples of Antti Lovag’s organic architecture.
WHAT FUTURE FOR THE MAISON BERNARD?
The heirs of the Maison Bernard have created the Maison Bernard endowment fund, whose mission is to protect and ensure the durability of Antti Lovag’s architectural work, which he created with Pierre Bernard in Théoule sur Mer during the 1970s. The Maison Bernard endowment fund also promotes and makes Lovag’s work accessible to the public. Finally, the Maison Bernard endowment fund welcomes a new artist in residence each year. The chosen artist creates an original work in keeping with the architecture of the house and its environment. The works are intended to be presented “in situ” on a permanent basis.
The residency is open to artists of all nationalities and from all the various artistic disciplines (video, sound, light, sculpture, land art, green art…). The content and artistic form of the projects are free as long as they are in keeping with the architecture and the site. The works produced are intended to be presented “in situ”.