Apr 12, 2011

Pierre Cardin’s Bubble House ‘Palais Bulles’ by Antti Lovag


The iconic Bubble House (Palais Bulles) just outside of Cannes was designed by renowned architect, Antti Lovag. The personal playground of famous avant-garde designer Pierre Cardin, the Bubble House is notorious for its legendary festival parties and other grand events. See below for a comprehensive gallery on this iconic European building along with information on the architect, the property and owner. Enjoy!




– Fittingly named Palais Bulles, or “Palace of Bubbles,” this residence represents the fundamental ideas of architect Antti Lovag. Built in 1989 and Located in the town of Théoule-sur-Mer (10 km outside Cannes), the house overlooks the Mediterranean Sea and the red cliffs of the Esterel, with a panorama stretching to the bay of Cannes

– Ever since it was created, it has become an infamous hang-out and late night party scene of the European social scene. The backdrop of many editorial fashion photographs, Palais Bulles is often rented out for film festival parties and other grand events

– Although most reactions to the building are visual, an important aspect of architecture in Lovag’s designs are how they can be inhabited, a term he coined as habitology. For Lovag, it’s about going back to the roots of our ancestral habitat (caves, cave dwellings etc…). A place where all art expression beauty, flexibility, harmony and balance leave free rein to the imagination




– The house is 1,200 square meters (12,916 sq ft) of living, consisting of an ampitheatre (500 seats), reception room, panoramic lounge, and 10 suites. Gardens and pools are spread over 8,500 square meters (2.1 acres) of land

– All spheres are constructed out of lightweight mesh and rods. Concrete is then poured around the spherical frames to create what can be seen in the Palais Bulles

– The house has 28 round rooms similar to soap bubbles (beds are also round). There are no pictures on the walls, but many of the floors from wall to wall are covered with thick, fluffy carpets. Specially designed illuminators also change the light depending on time of the day.

– As for materials, and at the insistence of Cardin, instead of traditional wood and metal, it was decided to experiment with plastic, foam, and polyester

– The 10 bedrooms are decorated by contemporary artists like Patrice Breteau, Jerome Tisserand Daniel You, François Chauvin, Gerard Cloarec, etc… They all have a different charm, and add originality to the space




– Born in Hungary in the 1920s, Antti Lovag took his first course of Naval Architecture in Stockholm Sweden. After this, he moved for his studies to Paris France. In the early 1960s he began to consider a radically different architecture, along with Jacques Couelle, and was inspired by the forms of nature to imagine a more natural home in harmony with human morphology

– Lovag views architecture as a “form of play- spontaneous, joyful, full of surprise.”

– “Whether for economic reasons or lack of technical solutions, human beings have confined themselves to cubes full of dead ends and angles that impede our movement and break our harmony,” explains Lovag. To him, the straight line is “an aggression against nature,” human nature to be more specific

– Lovag’s point is that the motion of our arms and legs throughout space trace circles, similar to a circular field of vision. “Conviviality is a circular phenomenon. The circle structures the way human life is carried out.” He explored this idea throughout his career, building prototypes and experimental structures that reflected his theories on the human body and its occupation of space

– Another reason why the circle is so present in his architecture is because it “is the simplest construction; it has just one dimension, the radius.” This is unsurprisingly transformed into the three dimensional sphere, which is the lightest, strongest, most material-efficient form of them all

– Lovag’s radical spherical building block is a foil to the known rules of architecture and the known conventions of the standard orthogonal system. Although his work is admired by many, Lovag does not have a long list of clients. This may have something to do with his philosophy, three conditions he respects; “I don’t know what it’s going to be like, I don’t know when it’s going to be finished, and I don’t know how much it’s going to cost.”

– Lovag is not in the field for the money, but instead to pursue his passions in understanding architecture and the human body. Currently 90 years old, Lovag is still designing as he continues to study the nature of Man




– Pierre Cardin, born Pietro Cardin, is an Italian-born French fashion designer who was born on July 7, 1922, at San Biagio di Callalta near Treviso
– Cardin was known for his avant-garde style and his Space Age designs. He prefers geometric shapes and motifs, often ignoring the female form. He advanced into unisex fashions, sometimes experimental, and not always practical. He introduced the “bubble dress” in 1954
– Pierre Cardin was also designated UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador in 1991
– Cardin moved to Paris in 1945. There, he studied architecture and worked with Jeanne Paquin after the war. He worked with Elsa Schiaparelli until he became head of Christian Dior’s tailleure atelier in 1947, but was denied work at Balenciaga
– Cardin founded his own house in 1950. His career was launched when he designed about 30 of the costumes for “the party of the century”, a masquerade ball at Palazzo Labia in Venice on 3 September 1951, hosted by the palazzo’s owner, Carlos de Beistegui. He began with haute couture in 1953
– Cardin was the first couturier to turn to Japan as a high fashion market when he travelled there in 1959. Also in 1959, he was expelled from the Chambre Syndicale for launching a ready-to-wear collection for the Printemps department store as the first couturier in Paris, but was soon reinstated




– Palais Bulles: Official Site
– First spotted on: ArchDaily
Modern Design Interior
– Pierre Cardin on Wikipedia









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