Restoration of the Hôtel de Caumont
The architecture of the Hôtel de Caumont has suffered unfortunate transformations during the 20th century (loss of some plasterwork, destruction of fireplaces, removal of walls, demolition of ceilings, etc). In order to restore the Hôtel de Caumont’s beauty and atmosphere, in the purest spirit of the Age of Enlightenment, and to reinstate the original interior layout as conceived by the architect Robert de Cotte, the major works of restoration have been carried out in compliance with the rules governing the conservation of historic monuments and under the supervision of the Regional Department of Cultural Affairs.
Didier Benderli, in charge of the interior decoration
For the interior decoration of Caumont - Art Centre, Culturespaces has called on the expertise of Didier Benderli, head of the company Kérylos Interiors. He summarises the key principles that led to his choices for the Hôtel de Caumont:
“The Hôtel de Caumont immediately impressed us as being an exceptional site. First by its architecture and its interior volumes, then by its monumental staircase and its skylights, both unique in this city. We conceived our project around an essential idea: to respect the spirit of the building. But more than simply aiming for a historical reconstitution, our goal was to truly bring it back to life.
We have been able to rekindle the past by means of surveys that have allowed us to identify the original colours of the beautiful plasterwork decorations that we are carefully restoring. The decorative elements, today disappeared, are testimonials to the lavish parties given by Pauline de Caumont in her youth.
We have imagined these events to guide our present choices, the objective being to recreate a harmony, an alchemy between past memories and the present heartbeat of this mansion. In this approach, we sought out the colours and materials that were used in the most beautiful eighteenth century French houses, right up to Versailles. On the instigation of Marie Antoinette, Madame de Pompadour and other women of good taste, pinks, mauves, pale blues and other fresh and joyous colours decorated the salons of the Age of Enlightenment; they will once again adorn those of the Hôtel de Caumont. We have also reconstructed a library and a museum of curiosities, places that were an absolute must in those days. Indeed, knowledge and pleasure mingled here in a subtle blend that we aspire to create anew at the Hôtel de Caumont”.