“I chose the theme of Greek mythology for Hotel Métropole Monte-Carlo as everything happens in the Mediterranean,” explains Karl Lagerfeld, whose new design for the palace’s pool has begun to attract the jet set rushing to cocktail hour with the first days of summer. Lagerfeld, a regular at Monaco’s social gatherings, lived for ten years in the majestic Ulysse villa in nearby Roquebrune-Cap-Martin.
“In Oslo,” he continues, “I would have gone for a story encompassing the Vikings, as it seems logical to focus on the location we are in. To convey what I have created in more literary terms, I would quote the heroin from ‘Iphigenia in Tauris’ by Goethe who says, ‘And days together stand I on the shore, seeking, in my soul, the land of Greece.’”
The Kaiser drew from this lyrical inspiration to create the Métropole’s new pool and lounge space, The Odyssey. Past the luxuriant garden scented by jasmine and bluebell, the futuristic lounge is all grey, with undulating curves and a massive glass bar. It opens onto the pure lines of the pool and garden beyond. On the wall flanking the pool thrones the spectacular new glass frieze titled “Ulysse’s Journey Around the Mediterranean Sea.”
It’s the couturier’s version of Ulysses’s adventures as chronicled by Homer in his epic poems The Iliad and The Odyssey. A black-and-white photograph of models – including Baptiste Giabiconi, Lagerfeld’s muse – dressed in togas and frolicking cheerfully was used as the starting point for the elaborate etchings on 20-meter-long glass panel. The photos were then superimposed onto etchings of vintage black-and-white images of the Greek coastline. These images are backlit by LEDs, which fluctuate with natural light, creating different atmospheres throughout the day.
With a lavish décor by Jacques Garcia, a soundtrack by it girl Béatrice Ardisson and three restaurants by Joël Robuchon, the the Métropole has become the hottest spot for Monaco’s young, sophisticated crowds, who can now mingle in The Odyssey lounge space sipping cocktails, nibbling finger food by Robuchon and swaying their svelte hips to the beats of celebrity DJs.
“We were not only thinking about it as a place to swim and tan, but rather as a living space,” explains the hotel’s director, Jean-Claude Messant. “And why not work with a designer? Today, a designer does much more than create a dress. Lagerfeld’s work is always very elegant. It’s contemporary classic.”