Pierre Cardin’s Film Studio Complex in the Gare de Bonnieux
“Mon luxe, c’est le travail,” Pierre Cardin is fond of saying.
And he has travail à gogo (in abundance) this year in the Luberon after getting turned away in 2010 from building a golf course on 90 acres of land in Bonnieux, and suffering this summer a stinging defeat when in Venice the CEO of Concept Creatif Pierre Cardin, Rodrigo Basilicati, the nephew of Pierre Cardin, announced that Mr. Cardin’s Light Palace project in the city of his birth had been terminated. (PVB)
Front Entrance to Pierre Cardin’s Film Studio Complex in the Gare de Bonnieux
In the winter of 2010-11, Mr. Cardin acquired buildings in the Quartier de la Gare in Bonnieux — home to the Restaurant de la Gare — which have undergone a massive renovation – 11,000 square feet of space – to create a film studio, screening rooms and production facilities, along with apartments, kitchens and a restaurant for the crews as well as for students doing “stages” (training internships).
Prone to high-minded metaphors, in 2012 Mr Cardin told the Vaucluse Matin that he envisioned a ‘mini-Hollywood” in Bonnieux, a pensée that echos the time in 2008 when he quipped that Lacoste would become a “St. Tropez of culture,” a fanciful unattainable notion that sparked protest from some locals.
On Thursday, September 12, Mr Cardin (photo l.) toured the facilities with his staff to inspect the finishing touches required, including the art works which are being installed in the lobby area and other rooms. A date for going operational has yet to be announced.
For the film crews on location for shoots in the Luberon, Mr. Cardin can provide housing for nearly 200 at the properties he owns in the Luberon.
As common with all of Mr. Cardin’s undertakings, the craftsmanship is first-rate (haut de gamme), and even a huge circular concrete parking area has a modern feel.
In the old village of Lacoste on the rue Basse, Mr. Cardin has recently purchased two houses, bringing the total of buildings he owns to 24. Whereas one is a tidy two-stories, the other is one of the largest houses in Lacoste – la Maison Jeanneret – a standalone three-story structure with a large basement and a terrace which is perched on a curved street corner across from the Café de France. With architects scurrying about the property, a crane is being installed this month so that work can begin forthwith.
Many villagers are curious about Mr. Cardin’s vision for La Maison Jeanneret, although an American artist who has lived in Lacoste for several years expressed the skepticism shared by of many that il rénove, il ferme (he renovates, he closes) – the current state of most of the buildings which Mr. Cardin owns along the rue Basse.
At last count, the renaissance-pomo things that Pierre Cardin has undertaken represent a total investment of more than $35 million, and with the recent project at the Gare de Bonnieux and the new renovations under foot in Lacoste, that number should exceed $45 million, along with creating more than 100 jobs.
In these days of “les vaches maigres” (skinny cows, an allusion to hard times), Pierre Cardin is a veritable economic development agency en lui-même.