A Renovated Modernist Oasis in the French Riviera

A Renovated Modernist Oasis in the French Riviera

By Caroline Wallis
Once home to modernist architect Barry Dierks, this historic home overlooking the Mediterranean Sea gets some functional updates without sacrificing its timeless appeal.

"Coco Chanel is said to have invented sunbathing, but Barry Dierks created the places to do it," say the architects tasked with updating this historic French villa. American born modernist architect Barry Dierks moved to the Cote d’Azur in 1925 where he left behind a legacy of villas dotting the French Riviera. In 2011, the German firm 4a Architekten received the commission to completely renovate the first of Dierks’ villas, Villa le Trident. The remodel aimed to preserve the white cubic architecture of the facade while outfitting the interior with modern amenities. It’s these modern features that keep the house feeling as effortlessly low-maintenance chic as it did in 1926.

To create uninterrupted views of the sea throughout the interior, the architects implemented sliding glass doors as partitions. This also keeps the interior plan feeling open and airy.

The remodel involved restoring the concrete ceilings, parapets, terrace stairs, and pergolas, down to each vault, arch, and corbel. The grandiose Baroque balustrades had to be replaced by filigree post banisters.

The interior scheme prevents clutter in a variety of creative ways, including concealing a heat pump in the walls and installing flush-fitting LED spotlights. The architects explain, "Since the redesign, the prevailing impression is one of spaciousness, the suffusion of light and simple elegance."

A statement-making Hope Suspension Light by Luceplan is an elegant addition to the living area. The table, which was designed by the architects and fabricated by VHB Memmingen, is surrounded by CH24 Wishbone Chairs by Hans Wegner for Carl Hansen & Son.

One of the biggest parts of the remodel was removing walls on the ground floor to make space for more of an open plan. The hanging steel Gyrofocus Fireplace by Focus gives the living room a unique character. It's flanked by a Delphi sofa from Erik Jørgensen.

The kitchen features Miele and Bosch appliances surrounded by oak flooring from Bois Ditton; the shelves are walnut.

Glass elements not only allude to the ocean, but also lend a fresh look to some of the rooms. Here, Trend glass mosaic tiles brighten up the bathroom. Axor fixtures from Hansgrohe stand next to a minimalist radiator from Zehnder.

On the patio, robinia wood beams shade a Kettal Vieques dining table and set of Moroso Supernatural chairs.

The swimming pool was reshaped and refinished to blur the transition between deck and rocky outcrop. Beyond the pool is the villa’s private beach, framed by lush vegetation.

Villa Le Trident owes its name to the steep three-pronged piece of land on which it is situated. Before and after the Second World War, the likes of Picasso, Somerset Maugham, and the Windsors all paid a visit to Dierks and his stunning French getaway.


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