Pavillon Southway, <br>An Art-house in Marseille

Pavillon Southway,
An Art-house in Marseille

Pavillon Southway: an artistic project with a strong identity that showcases the South. A collector’s house with an unclassifiable aesthetic style and a highly creative production conceived by Emmanuelle Luciani, exhibition curator and artist from the city of Marseille. A successful cultural challenge taken up by this enthusiast of arte povera and medieval art. An art historian with an impressive background who was able to rally to her cause Élie Chich, one of her former students who is now her right-hand man. Two souls linked by a shared passion: for the history of art and, more particularly, for the Arts & Crafts. Eager to bring art to life “outside the capital cities and the industrial north”, the duo questions the intimate relationship between decoration and art in this house in the Mazargues district. A remarkable place whose generous spaces welcome the creations of artists with, according to the exhibitions, a “sensitivity to savoir-faire and history”. The reconciliation of “art and craft, artistic practice and decoration” in a place where the designer has total freedom. A vision of cross-disciplinary creativity, mixing high and low shared by the two collaborators who are keen to develop this hybrid space which is an art gallery, a workshop and also houses a guest room, and where experts and neophytes of all ages gather. Experienced collectors or the simply inquisitive, eager to discover total art and domestic achievements. Creations that embrace the unique atmosphere of this 19th-century building with its enchanting decorative details. So many preciously preserved memories for an explosive encounter between “the south of France and the American suburb“.

Pavillon Southway. 433 Boulevard Michelet, Marseille – 13009. Reservation by e-mail to Visit the exhibitions by appointment from Monday to Friday, from 14:00 to 17:00. Admission €5.

Salle d'exposition avec tomettes au sol, lustre et miroir au Pavillon Southway à Marseille
Peuvres d'
Emmanuelle Luciani dans le couloir du Pavillon Southway à Marseille
Miroir et dorure dans la salle d'exposition du Pavillon Southway à Marseille
Couloir avec porte vitrée et marbre au Pavillon Southway à Marseille

Emmanuelle, Elie: can you introduce yourselves?


My name’s Emmanuelle Luciani. I’ve been an independent curator for 9 years, and I am the founder of Southway Studio.


My name’s Élie Chich and I’m Emmanuelle’s right-hand person. I’ve assisted her with all her projects for the past two years.

Can you tell us about your background?

I have a triple education (history of art – especially medieval art and arte povera in Rome – fine arts and law), which gives me a lot of fluidity in my work. I see things through different prisms. I combine practice and theory. After several experiences in the art market and in galleries, I became an independent curator around 2012-2013 and since then I have multiplied my projects.
I specialise in decorative arts from 1900 to 1950. I met Emmanuelle at Sciences-Po during one of her classes, and her work immediately interested me! She maintains a fascinating link with history, which is an endless source of inspiration. We share a real passion for arts and crafts, the relationship between art and decoration, and the place of art in the domestic environment.
Tell us about your art education.
It was medieval art that pushed me to study the history of art and arte povera. I have a global vision of art that is not limited to contemporary art. It also includes craftsmanship, for example. The cabins where I have spent so much time inspire me as much as the palaces or fortified castles. It is this meeting of high and low that interests me.
I have always admired ‘beautiful objects’ and I very quickly had this desire to ‘touch’ them. The most important thing is to understand that they have a life outside of shop windows or museums!
The Southway Pavilion is a hybrid place dedicated to arts and crafts. Tell us about the genesis of this project.
After several temporary exhibitions (at Moco for Nicolas Bourriaud, at Mrac with Sandra Patron, or at MaMo for Ora Ïto) mobilising international artists (Sterling Ruby, Urs Fischer, Korakrit Arunanondchai in partnership with the Gagosian gallery), I needed a place to root my activities in a sustainable way. So I designed the Pavilion in a format that gives me greater flexibility for my projects, whether they are curatorial or production. More than elsewhere, my exhibitions become total works, always preceded by my research and seminars at Sciences-Po or the Beaux-Arts. A large part of our work also consists of orders for private interiors or architects. The Pavilion is therefore the best way to show our creations and our know-how! At the same time, we continue to organise exhibitions in France and abroad, such as at the Every Day Gallery in Antwerp (‘History of Fantasy’), or at Alexandra Romy’s (‘Too Fast too Knight’) in Zurich, this year.
We see art differently in a private, domestic or everyday environment. Equipping the Pavilion, organising exhibitions there, is also a way of reconciling art and crafts, artistic practice and decoration.
Emmanuelle et Elie dans le couloir du Pavillon Southway à Marseille
Oeuvres d'arts accrochées avec plantes au Pavillon Southway à Marseille
Oeuvres d'art sur le sol en tomette au Pavillon Southway

Equipping the Pavilion, organising exhibitions there, is also a way of reconciling art and crafts, artistic practice and decoration.

Décoration murale dans le salon du Pavillon Southway
Salon avec ouvertures et plante au Pavillon Southway à Marseille
Why did you choose this name?
The whole idea comes from a show I did in London in 2016, ‘From Transhuman to South Perspective‘, and ‘Les Chemins du Sud’ exhibition that I organised in 2019 at the Mrac in Serignan. Through this name, I want to show that art exists outside the capitals and the industrial north. Eight years ago, when I started my activity, it was difficult to work outside of Paris. This has recently tended to change.
What do the artists of your collective who have the chance to exhibit with you have in common?
The artists who revolve around the studio, or with whom we collaborate, all have a sensitivity to know-how and history, as well as to pop culture. All of them are fantastic, with strong plastic qualities. We took a long time to find them. The collective idea never questions their individuality. Instead, it is rather complementary, with solo projects combining with collaborative projects and exhibitions.
What disciplines can you find on your premises? 
As the house evolves with every exhibition and project, the techniques that we can see there also change. But most of the time, we will find quite old techniques such as stucco-lime, ceramics, metal and oil painting. We always explore techniques to the full! We have also started to work with digital artists and musicians. We will be doing coachwork painting soon. It’s in perpetual motion!
Your house is an old building from the 19th century. Tell us about its history.
It’s a bit of a meeting between the south of France and the American suburbs. I really like the Mazargues district – where the Pavilion is located – which is an old village that has kept a strong identity. I had the opportunity to acquire and renovate this house. It was a great opportunity, and we invested a lot to ensure it opened on time.
Escalier en bois et mosaïque au Pavillon Southway à Marseille
Verrière avec table en marbre au Pavillon Southway à Marseille
Coupelle avec pommes dans la cuisine dans le Pavillon Southway à Paris
Cuisine avec étagères blanches dans le Pavillon Southway à Marseille

Does it inspire you to create?

What interests us is to face different challenges. We are inspired by the context, the place. The house is an exercise among other projects. We have revived the idea of ‘commission’, so it is ideal for creating domestic works. As such, the house is not a limitation. We do not confine ourselves to Marseille.
At the Pavilion, except in the showroom which really focuses on issues specific to each show, we will be able to show what we can do for domestic items, such as chimney hoods, furniture, etc.
What does the fact that you welcome customers and the public to your premises bring you?
Receiving people creates real emulation, which is completely in line with our desire for transversality. The Southway Pavilion is an ecosystem that allows the meeting of very different people, whether they are contemporary artists and decorators or simply curious.
Southway Pavilion is also a guest house and an artists’ residence. How have you occupied the living areas?
The house is in perpetual motion. Wall hangings change often depending on sales and productions. The bedroom is filled with works of art, with a fresco on the ceiling. We saw it as a journey that had to be accompanied by our works. There is a co-existence that operates between the resident artists and the people who pass through, who come to rent the room or visit the Pavilion.
The idea is also to offer a contemporary variation on the archetype of the 19th or 20th century collector’s home.
How does Marseille influence your work?
It’s a city of high and low, where the ancient past meets modernism and football. When you make a vase, it’s as much a work inspired by an Etruscan vase as by the 1993 European Cup, the one with the big ears. That is why we have very savvy contemporary art collectors and others who are novices!
Marseille is a city that absorbs and synthesises influences. This can also be seen in the architecture, such as the fanciful houses of the 1930s and 1950s, which can be found in particular in the southern districts, and which are variations that are unique to the city.
The studio draws on history, ancient or medieval art, the grilles of sports cars, patterns specific to football or the aesthetics of fantasy literature. For example, we have just had a vampire salon for our last exhibition.
Can you recommend some places or cultural projects to discover?
I really like the Museum of Fine Arts. Above all, I am very attached to the Granet Museum in Aix-en-Provence. Granet was one of the first to understand the peculiarities of the landscape of southern France, and I recognise his journey in my own, between Aix and Rome. I also recommend the Tuba Club, where we created a mural for its architect Marion Mailander, who immediately understood our work. Tuba Club is an idyllic place to stay or have a drink by the sea, near the Goudes. As for an unusual place, Jogging is a completely crazy fashion store that’s a feast for the eyes. The world of Olivier Amsellem is very interesting and we will soon be working there.
I would recommend the Decorative Arts Museum at Château Borely. But I think exploring the city is essential. Marseille is architecturally very interesting. Nineteenth-century buildings stand side by side with constructions from the 1930s or more modern buildings. It’s an improbable architectural mille-feuille, interspersed by road bridges that come out of nowhere! I also recommend Café Luciani, of course, which is the oldest roasting house still in operation in Marseille, and which was decorated by the studio.
How do you want to develop The Southway Pavilion?

I want to continue to carry out ever greater and more interesting projects for our exhibitions around the world, our collectors and private sponsors. We are going to develop this hybrid place, between an exhibition and production area and a living space, with the room to rent.

Hotte blanche et crédence en mosaïque dans la cuisine du Pavillon Southway à Marseille
Chambre blanche avec décoration au plafond au Pavillon Southway à Marseille
Fauteuil crapaud en velours, table basse et oeuvres d'art au Pavillon Southway à Marseille

The artists who revolve around the studio, or with whom we collaborate, all have a sensitivity to know-how and history, as well as to pop culture.

Poterie avec dorure au Pavillon Southway à Marseille
Atelier d'artiste au Pavillon Southway à Marseille
Oeuvres d'arts dans l'atelier d'artiste du Pavillon Southway à Marseille
Fresque et banc dans le Pavillon Southway à Marseille Oeuvres d'arts et console dans le Pavillon Southway à Marseille

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