When you think of a rustic French château, turrets and moats and rolling countryside all spring to mind – but contemporary interiors? Domaine des Etangs (opens in new tab) ticks both.
This charming 11th century château marries idyllic French architecture with super sleek interiors and modern furniture. The property has been fully renovated, with striking interiors designed by architect Isabelle Stanislas.
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Once the private home of the Primat family (it's still owned by them), Domaine des Etangs is a modern hotel that's set in over 1,000 hectares of protected countryside, surrounded by forests, grassland, landscaped gardens and lakes.
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But it's the interiors that really have us salivating. Inside, crusty old rooms have been given more than just a face-lift. Floors are fresh, antiques are counterbalanced with modern furniture, headboards are bespoke and incorporate modern floating side tables and headboard-mounted wall lights, and there is art everywhere.
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Bathrooms serve up cool ideas too, from the wood shutters, wood walls, ceilings and beams, to the sculptural freestanding baths with glass baubles suspended overhead. Just dreamy.
Rooms have retained period features like wall panelling, cornicing and fireplaces, as well as stunning murals and trompe-l'œil ceilings – yet the interiors are thoroughly modern. Oil paintings have a modern spin, antiques have been reupholstered in modern textiles, and rooms have been given modern, more angular furniture, punctuating old rooms with fresh pizazz.
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Every space offers inspiration – including the 11th century stone staircase, which has been brightened with modern lighting and a cool gallery wall of artworks.
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Meanwhile in one of the reading rooms there's a light installation of planets suspended from the ceiling.
The modern rustic hotel is not only peppered with art installations and sculptures – including those by Richard Long and Irina Rasquinet – but it serves as an actual art gallery too. The property houses one of Europe’s finest collections of contemporary art, with a resident collection including works by the likes of Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Ugo Rondinone.
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Domaine des Etangs is currently exhibiting an impressive collection of Yves Klein works – on from 25th June 2020 to 29th January 2021. This exclusive new art exhibition takes place in their ‘La Laiterie’ art space, and explores the works of legendary artist Yves Klein.
Titled Les éléments et les couleurs (Elements and Colours), the exhibition focusses around the concept of nature and the cosmos – the earth and sky. A selection of 60 pieces of art have been specially curated for Domaine des Etangs by Daniel Moquay, president of the Yves Klein Archives and Philippe Siauve, and overseen by Domaine des Etangs' owner, Garance Primat.
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Aside from Yves Klein's signature cobalt blue pieces that are showcased throughout the property,the exhibition also includes various documents and films.
La Laiterie, the setting for the new exhibition, is also home to two libraries, located in mezzanines on each side of the converted barn. Israeli designer Raphael Navot designed this entire space and focused on custom design and made-to-measure interiors, combining traditional methods with contemporary ‘savoir-faire’.
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Raphael gave the library a softer, lighter feel, complete with Chesterfield sofas, giving the sense of a gentleman’s club.
Yves Klein, for whom nature was a source of infinite inspiration, has a special place at Domaine des Etangs. A refuge from the everyday, the Domaine inspires guests and visitors to reconnect with nature, taking advantage of their 2,500 acre estate situated in one of the most beautiful, rural areas of SW France.
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The exhibition runs until 29th January 2021 and is open to hotel guests and members of the public. Non-hotel guests to be charged an entry fee of €3 per person.
Guests can fly to Limoges International Airport (54km) and Bordeaux International Airport (170km) or take a private jet to Angouleme (43km). Rates at Domaine des Etangs start from 400 EUR per night on a B&B basis.