January 24, 2013 - Nouveau Musée National de Monaco - MONACOPOLIS
January 24, 2013


Yona Friedman, “La Venise monégasque,” 1960/2006. Ballpoint pen and Wite-Out on postcards. Collection NMNM.
© ADAGP, Paris, 2012.

Architecture, Urbanism et Urbanisation in Monaco, Realisations et Projects – 1858-2012

Villa Paloma: January 19–May 12, 2013
Villa Sauber: January 19–December 30, 2013

Nouveau Musée National de Monaco
Villa Paloma
56, boulevard du Jardin Exotique
98000 Monaco

Villa Sauber
17, avenue Princesse Grace
98000 Monaco

T +377 98 98 20 95
presse [​at​] nmnm.mc


The Nouveau Musée National de Monaco directed by Marie-Claude Beaud presents MONACOPOLIS – Architecture, Urbanism et Urbanisation in Monaco, Realisations et Projects – 1858–2012

MONACOPOLIS is on view in the two NMNM venues—Villa Paloma and Villa Sauber.

The exhibition is curated by Nathalie Rosticher-Giordano—Chief Curator of the NMNM. The collective Martino Gamper and Åbäke (London) is responsible for the exhibition’s sets and graphic design (signs, visual identity and publication).

MONACOPOLIS analyzes the density of a saturated territory, and explores its many different dimensions. It restores readability to what already exists and re-creates the different layers of the Principality’s urban development that has proceeded uninterruptedly since the mid-19th century, thanks to a novel overlapping of archives and works little or never seen. In the absence of any Archives Nationales in Monaco, this exhibition restores to the public the documents and the sources which make it possible to write the history of the country’s architecture. A complete saturation of the territory, this latter has been wavering between three tendencies which tally with experimental trends, producing projects involving “realistic utopias”: verticality (first additional height, then actual high-rise buildings), excavating the ground, and the creation of manmade lands.

Villa Sauber offers a circuit through the emblematic neighbourhood of Monte-Carlo. The exhibition draws on more than 600 historical plans mostly hailing from the Société des Bains de Mer, shedding light on the work of the architects involved—over and above the famous signature of Charles Garnier—and underscores the extraordinary capacity for renewal which hallmarks architecture associated with vacationing and holidays, all created and turned towards a public with fluctuating desires. To take just this one example, between 1863 and 1910, no less than ten architects, including Henri Schmit, would follow in each other’s footsteps to enlarge, transform, embellish, rectify, unify and even plan the Casino-Opéra de Monte Carlo.

Villa Paloma explores, inter alia, Eugène Beaudoin’s urban development proposals of the 1940s, Le Corbusier’s mysterious sketch, and the idea mooted by a surprising stranger, Henry Bulgheroni. After the Second World War, in a context aligned with the European issue of reconstruction, Monaco also had above all to deal with the total saturation of its territory. There duly appeared for Monaco various new urban planning solutions, in a period replete with visionaries. Starting in the 1960s, we thus discover utopian proposals such as La Venise monégasque, Yona Friedman’s transparent and suspended bridge-city, Archigram’s Features Monte-Carlo, a rejection of deliberately buried architecture but offering a masterly response to  exaggeratedly multi-faceted specifications, Paul Maymont’s Thalassopolis, a city that could be extended ad infinitum over the water, Edouard Albert’s L’Ile artificielle and the Quartier Marin, designed together with Jacques-Yves Cousteau, and Manfredi Nicoletti’s La Ville satellite and the Marinarium. More recently, Jean Nouvel came up with a Centre de l’homme et de la mer, and Emilio Ambasz devised Public Park and Residencies. Real urban development is reinstated in the exhibition thanks to a sizeable collection of illustrative material and filmed reports, emphasizing the ceaseless energy of the works begun in the 1960s, which have never been interrupted since.

The exhibition includes works by contemporary artists, belonging to the Museum’s collection (Anselmo, Gabriele Basilico, Philippe Cognée, Thomas Demand, Anne and Patrick Poirier and Philippe Ramette), as well as special commissions. The artist Pume Bylex proposes, from Kinshasa, a dream touristic city; Yona Friedman has created a 1/250-scale model especially for the exhibition, following on from his 1961 project and Michel Paysant takes the metaphor even further, offering a nano-scale representation of Monaco, one of the smallest states in the world.

The exhibition extends beyond the museum walls, and the city thus assumes a new dimension, at once a place of memory, a place where people live, and a space of projections.

A publication will be released in late February 2013. Nothing less than a trove of references filling some 600 pages, it will include a comprehensive iconography, for the most part hitherto unpublished, and essays broaching the notions of heritage, vacationing, and urban planning and development, written by historians, architects, urban planners, and philosophers.

Nouveau Musée National de Monaco presents MONACOPOLIS
Nouveau Musée National de Monaco
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