Time passed, and his story rolls out, with Thomas Erber as the lead and a beautiful friendship which quickly transformed into an...
Between the Plaine des Maures and the Gulf of Saint-Tropez, a UFO has landed. A facade embellished by a lime finish emerges from a 46-hectare vineyard. That of Ultimate Provence. The AOP Côtes de Provence vines are the ones served – but above all produced – in this intimate location that is still being shared by word of mouth. An exceptional beverage, available in three colours (rosé, red and white) that you can savour in a spectacular setting designed by the architects Humbert & Poyet. For this project, the duo returned to their roots – the Mediterranean region – and to their influences “The sea, the colours of the land, and nature”. Imagery that inspired and is inscribed in the extraordinary space of Ultimate Provence. Eager to stage an original wine-related experience while at the same time making the address a place open to all, the Monegasques have proceeded in stages. Three, to be precise. The first: the redesign of the place with the cellars and the space dedicated to tasting. The second: the creation of the Atmos restaurant connected to the source – the wine – and its tasting area. The third: the hotel and its 23 bedrooms. A daring gamble, combining design, terroir and gourmet cuisine. From urban trends that blow in just the right dose of modernity and freshness to a “Provencal-style” hospitality whose reputation is well-established. An absolute must for a visit this summer to enjoy the generous outdoor space and its splendid swimming pool, all in Santo Tirso granite. A moment of weightlessness against the backdrop of a vineyard, a lavender field and an olive grove.
Hotel Ultimate Provence, 7270 Route du Luc – 83680 La Garde-Freinet.Reservations by phone at +33 (0)494 852910 as well as on www.ultimateprovence.com. Atmos Restaurant, open every day from 12.00 to 14.30 and 19.00 to 22.00. Bar, open every day from 12:00 to 01:00. Shop and tasting cellar, open every day from 07:00 to 23:00.
Christophe, Emil, can you introduce yourselves, please?
Parisian, trained as an architect, a graduate of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture Paris-Belleville
Monegasque, interior designer, a graduate of the Académie Charpentier in Paris.
How did you meet?
We met through friends in the design world.
When – and why – did you decide to establish the Humbert & Poyet agency together?
We decided to launch Humbert & Poyet in 2007. It was obvious to us when we first met that we were going to work together. We each felt the need to share the world of design and the creative process in our work.
The client contacted us with a vision of creating a unique place, one that would translate the traditional idea of a vineyard into a modern and urban space.
Are the roles distributed between you in any particular way?
We are genuinely complementary; we work in complete synergy on all our projects. These outweigh our personal motivations or our creative ego, this shared commitment is a source of success in our collaboration.
What is your style? What binds your different projects together?
Our style could be described in terms of our approach: we’re masters of setting a scene. We treat each space as a composition, a quest for balance, by playing with periods, by exploring noble materials. It’s a style that refuses nothing and in particular no source of inspiration. We have a particular affection for classicism, art nouveau and art deco, as well as for the Memphis movement. These influences are reflected in our work by a timeless, flamboyant aesthetic and the particular way we reinterpret the accepted idea of luxury.
How did you end up working on the Ultimate Provence hotel complex?
The client contacted us with a vision of creating a unique place, one that would translate the traditional idea of a vineyard into a modern and urban space. To tell a new story around wine, to offer a new experience in Provence.
We take a unique approach to each project. We don't bring a particular world with us. Every project draws its inspiration from and fits into its location (...)
You have created a boutique hotel vineyard – what were the key phases in bringing them all together?
The first step was setting the scene around the wine, the redesign of the place with the wine storehouses and the space dedicated to tasting. The second stage involved the restaurant, above all created as a living space open to all visitors, connected to the source – the wine and the tasting space – and also able to host outdoor concerts. Finally came the hotel, where we brought urban inspirations into the heart of nature, keeping the feel of Provence through the choice of fresh and accessible colours.
You are accustomed to designing spaces in the city. How did transposing your world into the heart of the vineyards work out?
We take a unique approach to each project. We don’t bring a particular world with us. Every project draws its inspiration from and fits into its location: this influences the choice of materials, fabrics, and the design and creation. For Ultimate Provence, it was the countryside, the colours of Provence, the vineyards; we used these as our guide and as the blueprints for creating this establishment’s unique decor.
Based, as you are, in Monaco, you must draw on multiple inspirations, between the sea and the surrounding Provencal landscapes and oscillating between mountains and plains… Which ones showed you the way in this project?
The Mediterranean landscape is part of our DNA. Our style includes an expression of French living with a touch of the Mediterranean, and you can feel its influence there. The sea, the colours of the land, nature, thyme, rosemary. Naturally, these were strong influences in the Ultimate Provence project.
Which is your favourite space here?
It’s the space devoted to the vats, conceived as a cathedral for wine. It’s a theatrical setting. We like the terrace as well, it’s very pleasant and convivial!
Which dish do you choose most frequently from the à la carte menu in chef Didier Bocquet’s Atmos restaurant?
The colourful tomato salad, for the quality of the local produce and the freshness of the dish.
Finally, for you, Ultimate Provence is?
It’s a place for living. The integration of a Provencal lifestyle and a gastronomic and hotel experience into something completely new. A place that combines design, terroir and gourmet cuisine. It’s a visionary approach, which aims to create a new understanding of the classic vineyard and hospitality in Provence.
Photography: Eve Campestrini – Text: Caroline Balvay @thesocialitefamily