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Les Hauts de Gordes: An Artistic Journey in Provence by Joséphine Fossey Office


For the latest property in the Iconic House collection of rental homes, Joséphine Fossey Office designed the artistic concept for Les Hauts de Gordes, a luxury bastide nestled above the hills of Gordes, in the heart of the Luberon in Provence.

Wanting to create a unique experience, Joséphine Fossey began by delving into the rich history of the village of Gordes. She explored its isolated nature, captivating light, exquisite mineral beauty and majestic landscapes that have inspired and charmed artists throughout the years. André Lhote was one of the first to fall under the region's spell. Subsequently, Jean Deyrolle, Serge Poliakoff, and renowned photographers Willy Ronis and Izis succumbed to its alluring charm.

The impact of Gordes on Victor Vasarely's work was particularly interesting to Joséphine Fossey. The village's essence, encompassing the power of the light and the verticality of its surroundings, sparked a profound sensory impact within the artist. This experience prompted an evolution in Varsarely's style towards abstraction, transitioning from a direct representation of nature to the translation of its essence into pure, abstract moving forms.

Joséphine Fossey's artistic vision embraces the concepts of illusion, movement, and perception, which are central to optical and kinetic art movements. She sought to explore the connection between the local environment and human expression, the harmonious blend of nature and art, real and imaginary. To achieve this, she curated an artistic journey that encompasses both indoor and outdoor spaces, inviting painters, sculptors, and local craftsmen to engage in a dialogue through their creative works.

Away from bustling crowds and glare, Les Hauts de Gordes provides privacy and spectacular views over the valley in a setting designed by interior architect Jérémie du Chaffaut. Here, a collection of artworks built up by Joséphine Fossey, some monumental and specially commissioned, serve as a guide for visitors, inviting them to discover the space while reflecting a unique appreciation for light, movement, and the intricate nature of perception.

A showcase for bespoke installations, the exterior features a painted metal gate by artist Gaultier Rimbault-Joffard. The first kinetic work on the journey, it sets the tone with vibrating material and light. In the garden, Charles Kalpakian's geometric mirror sculpture reflects the sky and the infinity of the surrounding landscape, while the pool itself is a work of art. Joséphine Fossey called on Robin Vermeersch, an artist fascinated by visual language and the notion of perception, who, in association with the Belgian collective "Ceci n'est pas une piscine", drew a graphic and linear motif evolving with the movements of the water. On the terrace, the duo of Atelier Felicita, in collaboration with Sonia Rinaldi, were given the task of revisiting the concept of the orientation table in a contemporary way. Solid colours and a line drawing in enamelled lava represent the surroundings on three-tiered wooden structures, functioning as a triptych.

Inside, Victor Marqué has created six bespoke sculptures in totemic forms and drawings reminiscent of Vasarely's work, exploring both 2D and 3D. Photos by Ilka Kramer and Yosigo rub shoulders with works by Jesus Perea, and respond to objects found through Provencal antique dealers. Each piece plays with movement, light, verticality and optical effects.

At the heart of Les Hauts de Gordes lies an artistic expedition that encapsulates the philosophy of Joséphine Fossey. With every project, she embarks on a collaborative and human-centred adventure, seeking to strike the right balance between honouring history and embracing new beginnings, seamlessly blending vintage and contemporary elements. By intertwining local influences with cultural diversity, the aim is to create a sense of belonging and ownership within the environment, truly making it one's own.


Interior Architecture: Jérémie du Chaffaut (Midi)
Artistic Concept & Curation: Joséphine Fossey Office
Photography: Mr Tripper (Last 2 images by Joséphine Fossey Office))

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