It’s not imagining it. All of it, everything in this home is pink! The walls, glazed terra-cotta tiles, floors in terrazzo speakers, switches, electrical outlets, awnings…it’s everywhere and pink.
“The idea was to create a monochrome monolith in line with coatings found on the walls of houses in Grasse,” says architect Lucie Niney, who designed the project with Thibault Marca. She is her co-designer at the company NeM Architects. “It took us time–many color charts tested in full sun or pouring rain–to find the right pink, one that stood out but didn’t create a UFO in the landscape.”
Lancome’s Fetiche color can be observed in and around the house, paying tribute to the famous centifolia flower, which is a flower that grows within Grasse, France, and the main ingredient in Lancome’s fragrance La Vie Est Belle.
When Lancome repurchased this estate in 2020, the centifolia roses were already present, but the property needed to be addressed. This meant that the entire plantation and watering of the farm needed to be rethought (here, they use integrative farming and do not use large machinery or pesticides). Today, the blooms are more beautiful than ever before. In reality, over 10,000 plants bloom during May and are followed by rows of irises, lavender jasmine, fig tree, rosemary, verbena, and many other aromatic plants that scent the landscape throughout the nine months of the year. Local roses are the primary basis for Lancome’s fragrances Mille et Une Roses and La Vie est Belle Domaine de la Rose, launched in 2000.
“They must be harvested by hand, between 5 and 7 a.m., and processed immediately so they don’t lose their olfactory properties,” Explains Lucie Careri, the estate’s director. “These are haute couture flowers–they’re too precious to be found at the florist!”
The building, in turn, also received a makeover. “It was a building from the 1970s in its original condition,” says Niney. “After clearing the area by removing sheds, barns, and other structures, we moved towards the home’s main building. Our first mission? A ecological design. Instead of air conditioning, we utilized an underground exchanger that cools the area and insulates the structure using lavender straw on the walls and rice straw on the roof. As a result of these changes, the building was awarded the designation of Mediterranean Sustainable Building (a sustainable framework designed specifically for Mediterranean climates.”
“Inside,” Niney continues, “we simplified the volumes as much as possible with, among other moves, cathedral ceilings and a mezzanine in the living room and huge windows in every room to frame nature.” The decor was minimal, incorporating furniture made by local manufacturers.
Apart from being a working farm, in addition, the property was specifically designed to host perfumers as well as guests. “The custom l’orgue a parfum[a semicircular piece of furniture used to organize and store raw perfume ingredients] is entirely covered in gold leaf by Ateliers Gohard and was designed so that our perfumers can come to the residence to work on their next fragrances” says Careri. More than 350 vials contain the most intoxicating scents, such as ginger, papyrus, and Sicilian lemons; they’re invited to allow their creative juices to go free.
A few guests will have the chance to explore Lancome’s commitment to the local culture and its biodiversity (more than 250 species live within the estate) through guided tours. Visitors can explore their pink home, walk through the fields of lavender and avenues of fig trees, and admire the iris gardens covered by olive trees before the tour’s highlight, the underground fragrance distillery. After arriving, you’ll be able to discover everything you can about the daily existence of roses, including harvesting extract, transformation, and the making of Lancome’s most famous products.