Inside Karl Lagerfeld’s Gorgeous Monaco Mansion

The pearl-white luxurious villa it’s called ‘La Vigie’, is a house with no address and is open to public for the first time after 100 years.

One of the most exclusive and prestigious private villas on the French Riviera that was once the home of Chanel fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, its most famous resident. The designer occupied the mansion for over a decade, he lived there during the summer months from 1986 to 1997. “I used to live in La Vigie, now it’s a luxury hotel.” He fully renovated it when he moved in. 

The Villa “La Vigie” –“the lookout tower”- Lagerfeld‘s former mysterious Monaco mansion is one of the most prestigious villas on the Côte d’Azur thanks to its history, architecture and unique location. It was built in 1902 for British publishing magnate Sir William Ingram and was occupied by German troops during World War II.

It was the ideal place for the reclusive designer: “It’s the safest place in the world,” he told W Magazine in 1988. “It’s impossible to get near the place. No public road passes by and you have to go through two gates to get inside. It doesn’t even have an address, so no one can write to me here.” In Monaco La Vigie is an urban legend because its so inaccessible. In the same interview Lagerfeld told W there was a rumor making the rounds of the country’s tiny population that the house had forty bedrooms.

The historic Monte Carlo villa is situated on the French Riviera-part of the Mediterranean coast and has stunning views overlooking the Principality of Monaco and the Roquebrune Cap Martin Bay. It’s perched high on a cliff top above Monte Carlo Beach Club. It boasts impressive views of the surrounding yacht filled waters. With a surface area of approximately 600 square metres on three floors, 6 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 2 dressing rooms, high-end appliances and a discreet, elegant décor, this lofty residence overlooks a superb 237 square metre terrace. The villa has its own private road, is surrounded by a tree-covered park and has a Jacuzzi overlooking the sea.

It had been sitting abandoned for years and changed owners several times before the designer acquired it in 1986. Prince Rainier, the late monarch of Monaco, offered Lagerfeld the house as a gift if he would agree to restore it. He spent a reported $14 million on the oppulent interiors. His master suite had a Marie Antoinette bed, and two bathrooms. One bathroom faced west for nighttime views of Monte Carlo, and another faced east for morning views of the Mediterranean.

La Vigie is very practical and has a sober, modern décor with elegant, classic furniture. Marble, columns, fireplaces and high ceilings give the villa a chic and trendy atmosphere.

On the ground floor. The monumental entrance hall with its magnificent staircase leading to the upper floors sets the tone: spaciousness, light and luxury. The hall leads directly to the central sitting room, which leads to the dining room and large sitting room and opens onto a vast terrace. The ground floor also includes a billiard room/library as well as a modern kitchen equipped with the latest appliances.
On the first floor. Two large double rooms with their own bathrooms and a slightly smaller double bedroom with a shower, private study and dressing room.
On the second floor. One double bedroom and bathroom and two double bedrooms (one slightly smaller than the other) which share a large bathroom, private study and dressing room.

Lagerfeld sold the house in the late nineties, and since the mansion became an exclusive hotel it was recently opened to the general public for the first time to play host to the inaugural collectible design fair Nomad Monaco to showcase works commissioned by the world’s leading design galleries, well known designers, artists and architects, such as Zaha Hadid. It was at La Vigie that Lagerfeld housed his famous collection of Memphis Group designs, which makes it a fitting location for the inauguration of Giorgio Pace and Nicolas Bellavance-Lecompte’s Nomad Design Fair—a highly curated and exclusive version of the global art fair. 

Set to take place annually, Nomad will travel to a different destination every year. Now you can find out for yourself just how many bedrooms Karl had! Here’s a sneak peek.

The Nilufar Gallery room in Villa La Vigie

Photos: Nomad Monaco / Dezeen

About Nomad design fair, a fair with a difference.
A new annual event for collectible design that brings together a selection of the world’s leading galleries in incredible architectural locations. “The model for the future” of collectible design fairs has began its journey last April in Monaco at La Vigie. Leading design gallerists said that the format works better than traditional fairs like Design Miami and PAD. Gallerists from London, Paris and Brussels said that they are tired of stuffy booths at fairs, and would much prefer to showcase collectible design in exclusive villas and apartments.

Villa La Vigie opened to the public after a 100 years, and this made it even more exciting for collectors and design enthusiasts from across the globe to come visit the iconic new showcase. The objects and products were showcased in their most natural environment. Each room/space in the villa was inhabited by a gallery and it almost felt like being in the home of a collector. The products were showcased in a natural light setting, instead of the spotlights used at conventional, large-scale art and design fairs, and the doors and the windows of the villa were open for the breeze to flow in, which made the buyers as well as the hosts feel more relaxed. The highlight was the view from every window of the villa: the change in daylight and the way it interacted with the interiors of the villa as well as the exteriors made a beautiful interplay with the changing colours of the sea that surrounded the villa. Besides the showcase at the Villa La Vigie, Nomad also organised private tours, dinners and the “Nomad Conversation” series for visitors and gallerists.
Organisers Giorgio Pace and Nicolas Bellavance-Lecompte see the event as a new approach to the traditional design fair. “Nomad will rethink the classic idea of fairs and exhibitions to create an event that is bespoke, intimate and that presents work in a radically new context. We hope to attract a community of individuals that is looking for a new experience,” they explained. “La Vigie’s rich history and beautiful architecture provides the perfect location to realise our vision.”
The four-day fair was opened from 27 to 30 April 2017. The programme also included a conversation between architect Norman Foster and Design Museum director Deyan Sudjic.

Nomad first edition was organised by Nicolas Bellavance-Lecompte, an architect and the director of Carwan Gallery in Beirut, and Giorgio Pace, an art and luxury brand specialist.

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