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Retreat Pavillion Crecy la Chapelle, France

@ 24H-architecture
Slava Polunin
creative ownership:
Maartje Lammers & Boris Zeisser

Bertrand, a Frenchman from Paris who invites to come to Paris for a new assignment, makes the first contact. His client has seen our Sweden house and would like just the same on his estate. Our answer is that we are delighted to see what we can do on a river bank in Paris. 


Traveling to Paris by train in late December 2007 late at night, met by Bertrand who takes us from Gare du Nord by a taxi in the hectic Paris traffic on a 2 hours drive outside Paris to meet our future client through the dark winter night. After arrival it turns out that our client is the world famous Russian mime player and clown Slava Polunin. They live on a beautiful estate the former watermill the ‘Moulin Jaune’, a creative enclave and secret garden filled with all sorts of fairy tale type of buildings. I feel like Alice in Wonderland.


The next morning we talk and walk around the premises. There are a variety of garden theme’s in different stages, there is a moon shape field with daffodils, a sun shaped red sun of red tulips, a white garden and a black garden. Within the area of the black garden it is where our little guesthouse is going to be built. We discuss the special requirements and details of the site that shall be taken into consideration for the design.

With our first sketches, done by hand and bundled together in a small booklet, we travel back to Paris. At the moment we are about to start the presentation, Slava hesitates and asks Elena to explain what later becomes the 10 points by Slava. A little nervous, since the design was already made, we await his comments. It shall be on legs, organic, the interior shall be clad in reindeer skin and you should be able to see the stars during the night. It is at that moment that we can relax and start smiling.


The design is an organic shape clad with black rattan and on black bamboo stilts, shaped like a horn, facing the length of the river with a bulging eye. The top of the horn is directed towards the sky, with a glass cover that is facing the stars in during the night. 


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