VILLA DORANE: Ettore Sottsass Brings A Frisky Moment to the South Of France
Collector, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and general jack-of-all-trades, Jean Pigozzi owns properties around the world, from New York to Panama to Paris, not to mention a yacht, the Amazon Express. But if you’re looking for him during the summer months, chances are you’ll find him at Villa Dorane, his summertime getaway in Cap d’Antibes. This sprawling family house was built in 1953 by Pigozzi’s parents, who named it anagrammatically after the Simca Aronde, a popular sedan that helped secure the family’s automobile fortune. Designed in 1953 by the architect Aldo Buzzi, the villa was originally kitted out in what Pigozzi sums up as “typical bourgeois French ‘Louis Côte d'Azur.’” But these days visitors expecting staid Riviera décor are in for a wild surprise: in the mid-1990s, Pigozzi hired the great Ettore Sottsass to completely overhaul the interior in high Memphis style.
Sottsass scrapped almost everything, save for the original marble floors, the elaborate boiseries in the study, and the metal deckchairs (the latter two produced by the prestigious Maison Jansen). Today, freestanding pieces in Sottsass’s signature style nestle up against tropical woods and walls painted in of every shade of candy. And then there are the artworks in Pigozzi's collection — he is an avid collector of contemporary African and Japanese art, as well as the founder of the Contemporary African Art Collection — with pieces by Frédéric Bruly Bouabré, George Lilanga, Cheik Ledy, Chéri Samba, and Malick Sidibé, to name just a few. Outside, guests can take in the warm salt air while reclining beside the two swimming pools, one of which, a 25-meter-long lap pool, was also designed by Sottsass. Interested parties who don’t want to wait for a personal invitation from Pigozzi are in luck: the Villa Dorane can be rented out for up to a month, and caters to all manner of special occasions, including weddings and Bar or Bat Mitzvahs. Mazel Tov!