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Rolex, sponsor inspired by La Villa Cavrois, an architectural gem by Mallet-Stevens

Rolex, sponsor inspired by La Villa Cavrois, an architectural gem by Mallet-Stevens

Villa Cavrois and its pool, in Croix, near Roubaix.
Press Photo / Jean-Luc Paylet Center for National Monuments

The crown factory accompanies the restoration of the masterpiece by precision architect Robert Mallet-Stevens.

After participating in the restoration of the monumental clock of the Hôtel de la Marine and the Panthéon in Paris, Rolex continues its commitment to the Center of National Monuments. Head north a few kilometers from Lille, where the factory is supporting the restoration of elements of the Villa Cavrois, a 1930s masterpiece designed by architect Robert Mallet-Stevens.

Architecture shares with watchmaking a love of precision and artistic vision. Technology is placed at the service of functionality, aesthetics and ergonomics. An idea shared by Robert Mallet-Stevens, known as an architect of precision, whose Villa Cavrois is certainly the most significant achievement, the last part of the trilogy that began with Paul Poiret’s house in Hyères at Villa Noilles and Mézium.

Clean lines

In 1929, Paul Cavrois, a major player in northern high-end textiles, decided to build his home in Croix, on the outskirts of Roubaix, then nicknamed “the city of a thousand chimneys”, where he had 5. factories, where 700 employees work. He called on Robert Mallett-Stevens to create a haven of peace that would house his extended family. The architect then envisioned a villa with a modern silhouette that would radically contrast with the neo-bourgeois style of the surrounding residences.

Former film designer Robert Mallett-Stevens designs a complete piece of work, as he also designs the interiors and furniture. A modern castle with clean lines, Villa Cavrois revealed in 1932 its magnificent proportions, the distribution of two wings, roof terraces and modern facilities. This architectural gem is actually equipped with a lift, central heating, telephone, TSF circular fence and electric time. Way ahead of his time.

Classified as a historical monument in 1990, the building has, however, seen darker times, first being rebuilt and then completely abandoned. But the state bought Villa Cavrois in 2001 and undertook a 13-year project to restore the residence and garden to their original state. A titanic project that allowed it to restore all its splendor by combining noble materials (Swedish marble, Sienna marble, walnut, pear and exotic woods) and industrial materials (glass, concrete, metal). If Villa Cavrois has rediscovered its grandeur, efforts are now focused on exterior bays, casement windows and metal sliding doors.

The living room of Villa Cavrois, from the first floor.
Loic Smith

Artistic education

This project is part of Rolex’s Perpetual Arts initiative, which highlights various fields through collaborations with cultural institutions and leading artists, as well as in its artistic mentorship program. His attachment to architecture no longer needs to be demonstrated. For more than sixty years, the manufacture has designed its buildings by internationally recognized architects, such as Michael Graves, who designed the Lititz Watch Technicum School, designed to train future watchmakers in Pennsylvania, USA. Other wonders that carry the brand. Rolex Toyocho Tower in Tokyo, designed by Fumihiko Maki or Rolex Learning Center, EPFL, Lausanne, designed by Japanese agency Sanaa.

When a watchmaker locates his headquarters or production buildings, he pays the same attention to detail as when he makes his watches. Thus, the headquarters of the brand in Dallas is the work of Sir David Chipperfield in New York. Let’s also remember that since 2014, the production supports the Venice International Architecture Biennale. Finally, since 2002, thanks to its artistic mentoring program, the production has brought together “Mentors and Patrons” duos. The latest collaboration to write a more sustainable world. In 2023-24, the French architect Anne Lakaton dedicates herself to the mentorship of the Lebanese-Armenian designer Arine Abrahamyan.

Villa Cavrois is open for visits from Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 6pm. Information: www.villa-cavrois.fr

Axial view of the south facade of Villa Cavrois.
Paillet, Jean-Luc (1960-2018), Center for National Monuments

Source: Le Figaro

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