Charles and Marie-Laure de Noailles, who commissioned Robert Mallet-Stevens to build their villa overlooking Hyères, would doubtless be thrilled with the goings-on in this gem of modernist architecture that they made into a hotspot for the artistic avant-garde during their lifetimes. Since it was transformed into a centre for art and architecture in 1996, the Villa Noailles has earned an international reputation thanks to its programme dedicated to architecture, design, fashion and photography.
Founded in 2006, Design Parade has quickly become an essential launch pad for the careers of young talents in the design sector. As part of its commitment to supporting design, the Fondation d’entreprise d’Hermès has supported Design Parade since 2008. Each year, several exhibitions are open to the public: the main exhibition featuring ten designers in competition for various prizes; an exhibition of work by the previous year’s Grand Prix winner produced thanks to the award; a retrospective of work by the jury president of the edition concerned; and an exhibition dedicated to local craft skills. In this way, a history of support and transmission between different generations of creators has been established. The festival opens with professional days, offering talks and roundtables to those working in the design field, while the exhibitions, open to all and free of charge, continue through to the end of September. In order to cover all aspects of the decorative arts and contemporary creation, since 2016 the Villa Noailles team has developed a parallel offering in neighbouring Toulon dedicated to interior architecture and decoration.
Come winter, the Villa Noailles welcomes an entirely different audience. The Pitchouns Festival is dedicated to children and their parents, and offers a range of parties, shows, creative workshops, activities and exhibitions for children of all ages. These numerous events, overseen by artists, offer a wealth of possibilities that allow young visitors to discover both contemporary creativity and craft skills. In recognition of this commitment, the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès has supported this multidisciplinary festival since 2013.
Since 2017, the Villa Noailles has also partnered with the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès and the Nice board of education to be part of Manufacto, the Skills Factory. The Villa acts as a reference institution for local schools, coordinating the sessions overseen by craftspeople for the twelve classes in the region that are participating in the programme.