Does the world of art and creativity attract you? Do you dream of sleeping in a museum or gallery? Or, better yet, in an artist’s studio? In short, would you like to spend one or several nights in a place full of beauty, creation and debate? You may be interested in booking a room (the only room) in Southway Pavilion, a nineteenth-century mansion full of surprises, in Marseille.
The Red House by William Morris, where the artist and his friends enjoyed creating together, reconciling art, crafts and a domestic environment, and which was the epicenter of Pre-Raphaeliteism, has been the inspiration for this stimulating project. Its creator, the art historian Emmanuelle Luciani, was also influenced by other similar initiatives, such as the villas Holy Sigh by Jean Cocteau and the E-1027 the Eileen Gray.
The decoration, furniture, objects and Works of art, in the context of everyday life, give life to this elegant suburban house from the 19th century, located at 433 Boulevard Michelet. At the gates of the Mazargues district, the Calanques fishing district, as well as workers and artisans, Southway Pavilion serves as the setting for residencies and exhibitions, workspace for French and international artists, and meeting place and discussion for the public.
The goal was to create a true ecosystem, Emmanuelle tells us. “Something that is at the same time a hotel, gallery, home and workshop. I am a curator, and I dedicate a lot to scenography, but I also design objects for collectors and works of art. We work globally, designing frescoes with artists for architects or individuals. For example, we did the mural painting of the entrance to the hotel Tuba in Marseille for the architect Marion Mailaender. Southway Studio is made up of four people: Elie Chich, Andrew Humke, Bella Hunt & Dante Di Calce and sometimes Jenna Käes, Jacopo Pagin … We work throughout France and Europe thanks to our partners, such as the gallery Hand Studio, in Biarritz ”.
Despite initial fears of the pandemic, The team worked hard to open in July of this year, and they have had many visitors and guests this summer. The house has been owned by the Emmanuelle family since the 1880s. “It belonged to my great-great-grandfather,” he recalls. It was rented for a long time and in June 2019 it was released, at the same time that I opened my arts & crafts exhibition The Southern Paths (Los caminos del sur), in the Sérignan Regional Museum of Contemporary Art and in the Fontfroide Abbey, In the south of france. Many museum loans were shown, as well as a large number of productions from my studio, Southway Studio. It was beautiful but it took place in a simple white cubicle, and I really wanted to do it in a more human place, and permanently ”.
Luciani wondered why decorative art was a problem for 20th century artists. “For me, that something be ornament it is a gift, not a crime ”, he emphasizes. “Then I received a loan from Orsay Museum, a wallpaper by William Morris, an artist I adore, as well as his Red House, built at the end of the 19th century in England. He embodies for me the possibility of being both an artist and a theorist, like myself, who studied Fine Arts and Art History. So with Southway Studio, I started investing in the house, restoring it, fitting it out and turning it into an extension of my exhibition Les Chemins du Sud.
The art historian, who has been organizing and creating exhibitions and producing works of art for almost 10 years, defines this experience as very exciting. “We really want to share our creations, our practice and our universe with the people who rent the room. The guests also meet the artists in residence, and this creates a real exchange and discussions. It is a real ecosystem.
“The house is open to curious people, in general, he continues. “It is a place to share. Elie Chich, also an art historian, conducts the guided tours. There are always artists and visitors, and I think that’s very good. Our tenants are French and also from other countries, and come from all walks of life. This summer we had the visit of many English speakers, for example. At the moment, we have only opened one room. We plan to open a second one next year, but it is a very intimate and quiet place, and for us it is important not to offer too many beds that break that atmosphere ”.
Most of the works inside the house come from Southway Studio. “We love artisan techniques and the interplay between art and craft. Introducing furniture, ceramics, blacksmithing, bronze, and more. We also work to order, for individuals or interior designers. We have performed services of ceramic dishes, tables, kitchen hoods, door handles … The house contains a good range of our works of art for domestic use. We also exhibit painting, sculpture … either by studio artists or guest artists. The rooms also allow me to show the public my total decorative installations. In a way, I follow the tradition of the assemblers of the early 20th century. All our objects are integrated into global sets that I design myself ”.
By what criteria are the artists who temporarily exhibit their work chosen? “They can be of all kinds. Southway Studio artists include Bella Hunt & Dante Di Calce, but there are also resident artists and works loaned by gallery friends. Currently we have jobs from Ariana Papademetropoulos, ASMA & VSWV, Jacopo Pagin, Robert Brambora and Juliette Feck, for example. “
In addition to the stay, the price (from € 120) includes breakfast. “Yes, and with the best coffee in the world! He Café Lucianifrom my father, who has the oldest roasting plant in Marseille ”, exclaims Emmanuelle. On the other hand, there is the possibility of accessing an optional private guided tour of the district or the city. “These routes are made to measure. Both Elijah and I are art historians and can accommodate visitors’ requests. For example, for the Calanques, we make a visit related to the history of the fishermen and the place. In Marseille, we talk about urban evolution and the materials of the city, etc. We take lovers of decorative art to a ceramic factory, for those who are interested in archeology, we are preparing a visit to Roman and Greek remains ”.
Pavillon Southway is close to a varied cultural offer: The Radiant City by Le Corbusier, the Contemporary Art Museum from Marseille, the Museum of Decorative Arts of the Château Borely …
The future unfolds before Southway Pavilion with an interesting array of possibilities. “We have many ongoing projects, including some commissions for objects, furniture and decorative sets. We also plan to organize dinners in the pavilion and brunch, with invitations from artists, collectors and theorists. And we will continue to make a great and careful exhibition every year (how Anima Mundi, in the crypts of the Abbey of Saint-Victor in Marseille, which closes on December 14) “.
Throughout the year There will also be educational workshops related to Southway aesthetics for young audiences, encounters with artists and tours of the Mazargues district. The pavilion also promises to host seminars and conferences organized in collaboration with Southway partners, such as the IEP of Aix-en-Provence, he MOCO and the Marseille School of Art.