Abbaye de Fontevraud
by Patrick Jouin/ Jouin Manku | via
Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manky is a design tandem whose works meet at the crossroads of industrial production and craftsmanship. In all their projects they seek to maintain a balance between innovation and grace. Their latest project is a fine example of this rule. The designers rearranged the interior of an old Saint-Lazare priory to host a hotel and a restaurant. Over the centuries the building had served monks and nuns, been used as a hospice and at one point even a prison. In 1980s it was first transformed into a hotel. The project reinterprets the story of Saint-Lazare for the future. Corresponding with the space which avoids unnecessary stylistic effects, the designers introduced their own pared-down and elegant style. This resulted as a sensual and refined interior of a mystical, ancient monastery.
„We quietly slipped into the Saint-Lazare priory, immersing ourselves in its history and its uniqueness. We tried to capture its essence, from its monastic simplicity to its prison austerity via the wisdom and philosophy of those who built and lived here. Then we had to fine-tune our approach, to give life to a contemporary vision that would respect and preserve the spirit of the building. We didn’t want the visitor to forget where they were. On the contrary, we wanted to assure an intimate experience of the site, allowing the visitor to appropriate fragments of the past in comfort. Achieving this also meant rising to the challenge of the constraints imposed by the building’s classification as an historic monument, notably that we were not permitted to touch the ceilings and the walls. The best approach was to find a way to turn these constraints into opportunities.”
Photography: Nicolas Mathéus