29/03/17 - Le Meurice, Dorchester Collection, Paris
The Marquise de Pompadour is taking up residence at Le Meurice
Le Meurice has been synonymous with French elegance since 1835, with its sumptuous decor dating from the 17th century. Its gourmet restaurant le Meurice Alain Ducasse, inspired by the Peace Room at the Palace of Versailles, and ceremonial Salon Pompadour are wonders of classical architecture.
200 years on, Le Meurice is continuing this tribute with the refinement of the 18th century and a completely new suite named after the Marquise de Pompadour. Having enlisted Philippe Starck to renovate the hotel's restaurants in May last year, Charles Jouffre was the one given the challenge of creating the Pompadour Suite in the style of a royal residence.
Charles Jouffre's workshops set the tone for this project, which involved a number of highly regarded artisans, with expertise as distinguished as silk by Prelle, trimmings by Declercq and chandeliers by Lucien Gau. The perfect blend of classic and modern, the Madame de Pompadour apartments incorporate intuitive automation and state-of-the-art technology to provide guests with maximum comfort.
Following the footsteps of Madame de Pompadour
The first palace hotel in Paris has always drawn inspiration from the king's favourite, patron and woman of taste, who has left her mark on the art of living encapsulated in our two hundred-year-old hotel.
For Franka Holtmann, General Manager of Le Meurice, dedicating the new suite to Madame de Pompadour was an obvious choice. Patron of the arts, symbol of femininity and passion, this icon with close ties to the historic court of Louis XV embodies all of the values, which define Le Meurice's own identity.
The Marquise played a part in developing Louis XVI's style, which was a major departure from the lavish gilding of the preceding period. Characterised by a more minimalist elegance, the dominant style during the reign of Louis XVI returned to antique-inspired shapes and focused more on the structure of furniture, taking shapes from neoclassical architecture.
This style is epitomised by the collaboration with Prelle on the suite's silk textiles. Based in Lyon since 1752, its workshops have preserved the looms used at the time, which enabled the production of the stunning fabric surrounding the suite's windows. This sparkling damask defines the harmony of this private space and uses light to create a sublime interplay of reflections between its shades of gold and raspberry.
With your very first step into the suite, you enter a world immersed in a voyager's daydream. A bust of Madame de Pompadour, reproduced from an original by the Manufacture de Sevres, faces a trompe l'œil diorama showing the marquise in front of her chateau. This incredible artistic reproduction evokes the magic lanterns, which were very popular at the time.
The reinvented classic
Throughout her entire life, Madame de Pompadour played a part in creating the future. For designer Charles Jouffre, it was unthinkable that a suite bearing her name could be designed by simply revisiting the past. In order to create a unique ambience, he needed to travel through time and rediscover the impetus that she gave to the decorative arts.
Le Salon, the suite's opening act, is the epitome of the 18th century: symmetry, solid oak Versailles parquet, Regency-style wood panelling, hidden doors, Louis XV fireplace, cornices, chandeliers and rich trimmings by Maison Declerq.
When you walk in, an enormous arch marks the first point, which blends past and present. Created by Pierre Bonnefille, its unique use of colour echoes the graduating shades of the curtains, whose vivid beige, rose, orange and fuschia tones, combined with pastels, add a sense of tranquillity and modernity to the apartments.
Armchairs and bergères made in France by Moissonnier sit alongside a bespoke sofa and other furniture. The desk, coffee table and varnished gueridons place the decorative focus on the fabrics and materials. Topped with marble and accented with brass, they create a subtle dialogue between design and classicism, like the majestic rug featuring traditional Savonnerie motifs. There are glimpses of this conversation between eras here and there, with items such as the bisque porcelain by the Manufacture de Sevres entitled Le Dejeuner, a reproduction of the original work by Josse-François-Joseph Le Riche, which dates from 1775 and is reflected in the overmantle mirror.
All three rooms in the Pompadour Suite are in harmony: the pastel tones of the panelling work with the luxurious fabrics, the rose copper bedside lamps form an unconscious link with the work of Philippe Starck and the ceiling rose reaffirms the character of the 18th century decor.
The Pompadour Suite's designers drew inspiration from a jewellery technique, which consists of hiding a piece's setting in order to show only the sparkle of its precious stones, when installing invisible yet omnipresent, state-of-the-art technology.
There is complete soundproofing, televisions are concealed behind reproductions of paintings, switches control lighting with maximum precision and complete darkness can be achieved with a remote control.
The Pompadour Suite was created with a desire to offer a reinterpretation of eras, styles and expertise in order to showcase timeless elegance while delivering the ultimate in modern comfort.