An Art Nouveau Floor in the
Cote d'Azur near Monaco
"Scoping" the project:
The owner was so pleased with it that when they purchased a French historic hillside villa overlooking the Mediterranean Sea near Monaco that was filled with old and stained carpeting at stark contrast to the lovely classical manor and its Art Nouveau stained glass windows, they immediately turned to our design team at Patina to design from scratch flooring in a manner that would reflect the Art Nouveau style of the stained glass windows and much of the furniture and make it look like it had been in place since the late 19th Century.
Research and Development:
Our team put their heads together. The plank flooring itself would be little trouble since it would be their "flag ship" rustic wide plank. But infusing it with an Art Nouveau ambience would take a bit of thought and research. While on a trip to Venice, Italy and some time rummaging around old book stores tucked away discretely in back alleys in Venice, they came across a book filled with plates of Art Nouveau Terrazzo flooring from a 1930’s catalogue of Venetian flooring designs by the Crovato Brothers (heirs to Francesco). Translated to wood, these designs would be perfect for this project.
But would this design created for stone Terrazzo translate visually into wood and if so, how to produce it in a variety of wood types to create the different colors that would carry the subtleties of the graceful, organic swoops and curves of the design and have it fit snugly with the wide plank flooring working as a whole visual image not to mention a floor that would not look new, but had been in place and lived on for a century or more?
Working with both 2nd millennium computer technology and old world tracing paper, the our designers worked out the basic templates of design for the base board straight-aways and room corners. Meanwhile our graphic artist took the early drawings and, working with our technical designer, developed a system of production that would make perfectly fitting border sections that allowed the borders to drop into the plank flooring. However, this task was made more difficult because like most of the houses built until recently in France, there was no such thing as a straight wall, 90° corner or flat sub floor. They were seldom built that way in the first place, but with a century of wear and hillside settling, the passage of time had had a hand in presenting a challenge.
It was also decided that the perfectly fitting inlay of wood border design looked too new, and adjusted the process to give the more rustic, aged look of the rest of the floor.
The original architects had also created some lovely elements of their own with 45°+/- flattened corners not to mention fire place stone hearths that jutted out into the rooms. But the team took these challenges as normal for such an installation. Every off center corner, flexing straight runs and multi-angled protuberances were mapped out, cut to shape and assembled in the California factory before being and shipped off to the Cöte d’Azur.
Normally, once the flooring has been hand crafted and shipped, that is the end of the project for Patina Old World Flooring. In this case, the sister company Henderson Wood Floors was responsible for the installation. The Ventura team of installers ram-rodded by our design team flew over and installed the flooring. Our graphic designer was on hand to make last minute design adjustments if any of the floor plans had not provided complete accuracy.
After the flooring had had a little time to acclimatize, the final finish was applied. A few months later, one of the technicl design team revisited the site to make final adjustments.