The Cavrois' Villa

Modernity, abandonment, revival

Conceived from 1929 to 1932, the Cavrois' Villa is one of the most emblematic realization from the Mallet-Stevens architect. It is as such that she was classified as "Historic Monument" in 1990, then bought by the State in 2001.

An architect

Polymorphic architect, he studied to the special School of architecture and began his career by drawing showcases, stores and film sets (L’Inhumaine, 1924, Le Vertige 1927). He developed a vision of the architecture modern, without ornamentation, working the light as a single material. Mallet-Stevens became important architect. He realized a residence for the count of Noailles in Hyères, worked for Paul Poiret then conceived a set of house in the XVIth district of Paris.

He disappeared in 1945 and became forgotten.

The context

Paul Cavrois, owner of a rich textile company Cavrois-Mathieu created in 1865, decided to build a house near Roubaix, away of the textile industries (called to the period " the city of thousand fireplaces "). Paul Cavrois confided at first the conception to Jacques Gréber, a famous architect, who proposed him a house in a neo-regionalist, fashionable style at that time. He met then Mallet-Stevens in Paris during the exhibition of the Decorative arts of 1925. The pavillon of the textile productions of Roubaix was close to the realizations of Mallet-Stevens.

Robert Mallet-Stevens proposed him then a completely modern house, radically different from architecture of the other houses of the industrial bourgeoisie of this period.

A house

The Cavrois' Villa, conceived as a modern castle, has a facade of 60 m of length and on 2800 m2 of floor, it was inspired by aristocratic residences of the XVIIth century with its two symmetric wings.

Modern and impressive, this Villa is rather representative of Robert Mallet-Stevens's architecture. An absence of ornamentations and multiple roofs terraces compose this modern castle. It is equipped with the technological point of the period (central heating, phone, elevator etc.) and is realized with modern materials, glass and steel.

It is a complete intervention: Mallet-Stevens realized not only the architecture but also inside decorations as well as the custom-made furniture. This house represents what he defined as a " total work ", a notion which he never stopped cultivating with his work on the decorations of movies of Marcel L' Herbier. His work on the furniture of this Villa, today called design, continues to be published and edited by publishers of furniture and lamp.

He added to these spaces of the marble and some wood carefully implemented, witnesses of the prosperity of the owners. The Villa also benefits from wide plate glass windows what was new for the period.

The house was occupied by German during the Second World War and transformed into barracks. After the war, the architect Pierre Barbe, in charge of the rehabilitation, transformed the interior design. After the death of Madam Cavrois in 1985, the Villa was sold to a promoter then abandoned. It was degraded little by little, with its abandonment and the helping of vandalism. Classified as "Historic Monument" in 1990 thanks to the work of an association of protection, the State got back the property and after 13 years of work it found its home state as in 1932.

The set of these works, led by Michel Gout's project management, - architect in chief of historic monuments, is estimated at 23 M€ and took almost 13 years.

Official website of the Cavrois' Villa here

Chairs of Mallet-Stevens by Habitat here

For visiting Cavrois' Villa here

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