Villa Bellevue by Bureau A

Individual villas have played a particular role in the history of domesticity. They are inevitably the set for the rich and dramatic play of family life whether in fiction or reality. In that sense all villas belong to a very same lineage : a stage for the domestic drama: love, passion, adultery, brotherhood ; the ups and down of family and love stories. Regardless of whether the scenario comes with a happy ending or not, similarities appear in all domestic environments.

Bellevue Avenue, a three and a half kilometre long street in Los Angeles which hits on one end the eternal Sunset Boulevard, another street closely tied to the history of Hollywood as well as the title of a famous Billy Wilder movie. The villa inside which the action takes place, in a certain Hollywood tradition, works as a claustrophobic set displaying the strained and decadent life of Norma Desmond. The entire world of Norma shrivels up in the nostalgia which can be found in every millimetre of the interior space of the villa. The entire décor
reveals a past grandeur and the sadness of her actual life.

On the other side of the world, in Geneva, a young family settles down in another villa in another Bellevue. The home life setting is designed for an opposite scenario, for a life that expands, opens to the exterior and avoids claustrophobia. Spaces are now constantly connected with each other and the whole house fights against the darkness of “Norma’s life”, who was trapped in a static feeling of fake comfort. Here everything is white or clear, and could predestined the family to another scenario with a happy ending – or actually no ending at all, leaving the family free to write their own home life. However, a tiny sign speaks out about the fragility of every designed interior as well as the vulnerability of every family.

The light bulbs of the library remind us of something, recalling a glimpse of a backstage make-up mirror. They say, like Jake Lamotta does in another seminal movie, that at the end “it’s all entertainment”.

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