The Architecture of Languages
The world is a strange place: the more of us there are, the fewer languages we speak. For 5000 years there were not many people around. Scattered across the globe, they lived an isolated existence and spoke different languages, languages that were so different that when they did chance to meet it was the tower of Babel‘ all over again. In the early twentieth century there were about 5000 languages that were spoken and recognized by merchants and scholars. Sociolinguists claim that in about twenty years‘ time no more than thirty languages will have retained this status or international recognition. English will be the language of trade and technology; many people will speak Spanish, Chinese and Arabic; the minor languages will carve a niche for themselves in cultural spheres. Hence Italian will be found in connection with opera and lifestyles, just as dealings in the industry of consumer luxuries and hôtellerie will continue to be conducted in French.
The Monte Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort is an example of a mixture of these dominant languages: its ostentatious neo-classical architecture is typical of Anglo-American countries, yet it was inspired by La Belle Epoque, international charme and French décor. However, its interiors of classical-modern design, with a few minimalist traits here and there, reflect a strong Italian influence, as seen in the porcelain tiles produced by Lea Ceramiche and the Tatlin sofa by Edra that dominates the perspective from the end of the corridor.
The eclecticism of Breton-born architect Pierre-Yves Rochon is responsible for this fusion. He grew up in an international milieu, having spent his childhood in many countries, absorbing their respective cultures and lifestyles. Before setting up on his own he worked at other influential contemporary interior design studios where he learned the entire gamut of styles, from the classic to the futuristic. But the field in which he truly excelled was that of grande hôtellerie, (which, as it happens, originated on Alpine lakes and along the French-Ligurian Riviera towards the end of the 19th century) and his studio is perhaps the most influential in the world, with dozens of large-scale projects already implemented or under construction.
Originally reserved for the elite, Grand Hotels have over the years become accessible to many, offering guests the chance to experience a luxury environment for a few days in a temporary haven with a variety of furnishings, lighting fixtures and finishings.
The Monte Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort stands on a green peninsula. It has a 4-hectare garden, an outdoor pool-lagoon, an indoor heated pool, a fitness centre and spa, four restaurants, a „pub with a view“ and an in-house casino.
The 334 rooms, which include luxury rooms and suites with a private hammam, and the corridors leading to them are tiled with a nature-inspired ceramic material called Stonehenge (colour Savanna). The use of this stone-inspired ceramic tile (in this case a smooth, dark variety with greenish gleams) in an artificial environment that looks out onto the sea and the Mediterranean vegetation represents yet another of the languages of contemporary architecture. Its use was agreed by the partners of the project and also met with open public approval when used in a pilot suite. Thanks, therefore, to a strong but not overbearing presence described by the designers as techno-natural‘, the ceramic tiles succeed in creating a dialogue with the furnishings, decorations and internal lighting fixtures, combining memorable aesthetic qualities with the advantages of a high-performance material.