Round houses were the architecture of choice for eons dating back before the Iron Age. They were built in Europe, Africa, Polynesia and almost anywhere humans congregated. In John Hawkesworth’s The Flame Trees of Thika, it was duly noted that Afrikaners believed evil spirits would collect and live in the corners of square homes and couldn’t understand the British penchant for residing in square buildings.
Mid-century architect Antti Lovag expressed similar feelings when he designed Le Palais Bulles – the Bubble Palace – in Cannes, France, which was built between 1975 and 1989. He concluded that “ . . human beings have confined themselves to cubes full of dead ends and angles that impede our movement and break our harmony.” He went on to say that the straight line was “an aggression against nature.” Another in agreement was fashion designer Pierre Cardin, who purchased Le Palais Bulles at auction in the early 1990s as a vacation home. He was drawn to the property saying, “Round shapes have always inspired me,” and compared it to a woman’s body saying “. . . everything is absolutely sensual.” After all, Cardin did design the famous Bubble Dress in 1958 and is known for dressing The Beatles and the Rolling Stones.
Currently for sale and by far Europe’s most expensive home at approximately $456 million, the connecting bubbles representing one room each, is spread over six levels on 1.75 acres on a cliff with 180-degree-views over the Mediterranean. With not a straight line on the property, the 10-bedroom residence has all spherical formal and private rooms including curved bathroom fixtures. The lush gardens contain ponds and swimming pools that artistically reflect the architecture both during the day and when lit at night. At the edge of the cliff is a 500-seat, open-air auditorium with spectacular views of the Mediterranean and the Bay of Cannes. Many notable events have been held here such as the recent Dior Resort Show and the James Bond 40th birthday event. On occasion, the estate has been rented to private individuals for $1,100 per night per person. Michaël Zingraf Real Estate in Cannes, affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate for the South of France, holds the listing.