OLIVIER AND PATRIZIA MASSART
If great houses deserve caretakers to see them through to the next generation, then Domaine des Andéols has lucked out with Olivier Massart. Now 64, Massart was born in this Provençal home in the heart of the Luberon, his grandfather, a dentist, having bought it in 1918. Olivier’s grandfather, however, was also a sculptor who spent much ...
“It’s a house. Except it’s not just a house. It’s a way of living—a different sentiment, like being in a home without the bad parts, where you don’t have to worry about the mundane."
... of his time creating the fountains, mosaics, and more that still decorate the house and gardens. “I grew up among all this beauty and art,” says Olivier. “That’s why I’m so attached to the place.” Did it feel like an obligation, I ask, to bring it back to life? “No, not really,” he says. “It was more of a dream.”
At first, the idea was to turn Domaine des Andéols into a philanthropic venture to support artists. “In the summer, we would make it work as a hotel—a maison d’hôte—and in winter, as a foundation,” says Olivier. “We have so many friends who are painters, photographers, sculptors,” says Patrizia. “We’re also enthusiastic collectors. So we knew there’d be reason for such a concept.” “But we also soon worked out that an idea like this would require much more money than we had,” says Olivier, laughing. “Maybe we will go back to the idea one day, but for now, Domaine des Andéols works just as it is—an aesthetically unique hotel that inspires in people a real passion for the visual arts. We want to share this point of view with as many like-minded guests as we can.”
It is this spirit of connection, of genuine hospitality, that makes Domaine des Andéols different from your run-of-the-mill five-star. “How can I say it?” says Patrizia. “It’s a house. Except it’s not just a house. It’s a way of living—a different sentiment, like being in a home without the bad parts, where you don’t have to worry about the mundane. It’s about feeling good, relaxed, about being comfortable among family.” This effect owes much to the sheer beauty of the place: the buzz of crickets, the smell of dry heat on the lavender fields, the ducks that come back every spring to breed on the lake. It is the seductive simplicity of an architectural shape, a waft of rosemary-scented lamb emanating from the kitchen, the meal enjoyed under the canopy of a centuries-old plane tree. It is the changing light, the history—ancient and recent—in the buildings’ bones. And it is the searingly fresh look that brings together Harry Bertoia’s bright red 1952 chairs, created together with Florence Knoll, and photography by Daidō Moriyama.