The Bosco or entrance garden

By Villa Arson

Situated on the north side of the property, the Bosco is the first space that the visitor walks through when he/she enters the domain. An introduction to the architecture, it is also a landscaped space and a contemporary garden where the olive trees, over 400 years old, have been preserved. Appreciative of the history of the hill, Michel Marot drew out the plans for the Villa Arson in such a way as to retain the remarkable trees; he created patios that follow the original greenery and he defined the height of the buildings in such a way that it would not interfere with the height of the evergreen oaks and parasol pine trees. Circles of Veronico tiles are scattered in the Bosco which now boasts new varieties of trees and plants. In 1994, a retrospective of Siah Armanjani's work became the opportunity for a public commission for the arrangement of this entrance garden, which became Armanjani's first permanent creation in Europe. This intervention – some of the pieces were produced by the Mobilier National -, benches, vases, picnic tables with lecterns, bandstand, convert the utopian universe of the artist's models into the dimensions of a communal space. The intervention added to the Bosco's character as a favorable place for exchanging and relaxing.

View of the Bosco looking south (July 1969) by Michel MarotVilla Arson

The Bosco before it was rearranged.

View of the Bosco looking to the south (1972) by Michel MarotVilla Arson

The Bosco is finished, a circular pavement of Veronico tiles surrounds each one of the trees that has been preserved or planted on the lawn.

View of the Bosco from the last floor of the old Villa (1972) by Michel MarotVilla Arson

The Bosco is the only place in the domain where Michel Marot used circular shapes, surrounding each tree with a precious setting.
The forecourt paved with Veronico tiles and marble leads to the great hall in building 3. It begins the north – south axis which runs through and organizes the buildings.

Building 2, north – west façades seen from the Bosco (1972) by Michel MarotVilla Arson

Michel Marot played with the interpenetration of the volumes, spaces and textures.
Façades are crenelated, straight lines have rhythm, the rough concrete highlights the stones, the windows and doors are deeply recessed.
The stairway leads directly to official accommodations, clearly separating the different uses.

View of the south – west façades of buildings 1 and 2 and of the Bosco alley (1972) by Michel MarotVilla Arson

An asphalt alley runs around the Bosco. On the ground a circle of Veronico tiles around a tree encroaches on the asphalt. This detail illustrates the process of interrupting and decompartmentalizing shapes and volumes found in all of the Villa Arson.

View of the Bosco towards the south, facing the entrance to building 3 (1972) by Michel MarotVilla Arson

Veronico tiles shaped like  isosceles triangles have been used around the trees to allow for a circular arrangement. The rest of the domain is covered with truncated right-angled triangles arranged in top-to-tail pairs to create straight lines.

Bosco (entrance garden) looking to the south

View of the Bosco to the north (1972) by Michel MarotVilla Arson

The encroaching circles of Veronico tiles can be seen all over the lawn. Green and mineral elements progressively intermingle, without interruption. The very precise composition creates a fluid effect.

View of the Bosco looking towards the north – east façades on the west side of building 3 (1972) by Michel MarotVilla Arson

The original olive trees were preserved. In the background two walls have been artificially thickened by adding a bend to create an intimate garden. A large opening gives access to it. This element creates continuity between the greenery and the buildings bearing natural motifs.

Detail from a wall of stones in the Bosco by Michel MarotVilla Arson

This test wall was the first one made using the technique selected for the veneer of the entire domain.
The flat side of the stones looks outwards. When one looks at the wall from the side, none of the stones stick out. The assemblage was made directly on the wall by hand by placing the stones one by one inside a frame.
This technique was abandoned during construction because it was too time-consuming. Initially the stones were calibrated. Because at the end of the construction there were not enough stones, some of the walls of the Villa Arson were covered with smaller stones, sometimes more spaced out.

Entrance to the hall of building 3 and old Villa seen from the Bosco (1972) by Michel MarotVilla Arson

The forecourt of building 3 is a transition between the circular shapes structuring the Bosco and the rest of the domain with its cubic volumes and straight lines.

Bosco (entrance garden) looking to the north

View of the Bosco looking north by Michel MarotVilla Arson

The Bosco after its rearrangement. On the left are the housing accommodations for artists in residence notably, on one level with the garden.

Housing accommodations for artists in residence

View of the west side of the Bosco looking to the south (1972) by Michel MarotVilla Arson

The asphalt alley running around the Bosco, and on the right the beginning of the alley of cypresses running along the west side of the buildings.

Overall view of the domain from an apartment building on the north – east side (April 1970) by Michel MarotVilla Arson

In the foreground, from left to right, buildings 2 and 1. In the background is the entrance garden called the “Bosco”. Further back is building 3 with the old Villa towering over the domain.

View from the forecourt of building 3 onto an intimate garden communicating with the Bosco (1972) by Michel MarotVilla Arson

On the right of the forecourt of the great hall entrance, the exhibition spaces of the National Center for Contemporary Art look onto an intimate and shady garden.

View of the intimate garden south of the Bosco (1972) by Michel MarotVilla Arson

The garden is an example of the subtle decompartmentalization of the spaces, characteristic of the entire domain. The abundant greenery of the undergrowth encroaches on the buildings.

Credits: Story

Jean-Pierre Simon

In charge of the project
Cédric Moris Kelly

Legal issues
Alain Avena

Under the guidance of Patrick Aubouin

Editorial staff
Patrick Aubouin
Cédric Moris Kelly

Claire Bernstein

Data entry in Google Cultural Institute interface
Cédric Moris Kelly

Digitalization of spaces by Google Street View team was made possible thanks to the mobilization of Villa Arson technical teams:

Reception, monitoring and maintenance
Joël Jauny

Reception, monitoring & accommodation
Isabelle Clausse
Dave Dhurmajee
Marlène Lebrusq
Jean-Pierre Vitry

Technical / Buildings staff
Jean-Paul Carpentier
Gérard Maria
Pascal Rigaux
Michel Serve

Patrice Lorho
Pascal Pujol
Kévin Serviole

Thanks to Michel Marot for the graceful authorization to use the archives collection Marot Tremblot Architecture (MTA)

With the support of the French Ministry of Culture and Communication and the Google Street View and Google Cultural Institute teams

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Google apps