12.2.2016

Hotel La Co(o)rniche at Pyla Sur Mer

“One of the strongest, most beautiful, most poetic, most surreal, and most powerful places in nature.” This is how Philippe Starck sums up in a few words the stunning view afforded by the La Co(o)rniche site .

La Corniche (1930)
La Corniche is a hotel in an extraordinary location. The key landmark in the Pilat-Plage district, the vantage point over the Arcachon basin, backing onto the highest dune in Europe, it is suspended between sea and sky, nestling between sand and pines. It is a mythical place which evokes the golden age and invention of the Côte d’Argent. A former 1930s hunting lodge in the heart of a preserved site, where aristocracy and the upper middle classes, attracted by the quality of the air, the magic of the site and the fashion for bathing in the sea, came to have Louis Gaume construct them a Neo-Basque home sheltered among the pines.

La Co(o)rniche (2010)
The new owner of the premises, William Téchoueyres has joined forces with the Gaume family to breathe new life into La Corniche. With the collaboration of Philippe Starck, he has awoken a sleeping beauty. So La Co(o)rniche was born, giving an additional exclamation to this stunning viewpoint. The preserved authenticity of the Basque house is combined with the atmosphere of an oyster shed giving onto the panorama. The hotel, restaurant, terrace and bar have been transformed with essential and informal luxury. Like a lively village square, La Co(o)rniche is dedicated to all lovers of the basin. Between intimacy and discretion, they are guests at a continual party, where they are sure to find the experience they are looking for.

The most beautiful place in the world
“One of the strongest, most beautiful, most poetic, most surreal, and most powerful places in nature.” This is how Philippe Starck sums up in a few words the stunning view afforded by the La Co(o)rniche site .

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The landscape, combining several extraordinary phenomena, could not leave anyone unmoved. It reveals the immense Atlantic and the entry to the Arcachon basin, closed in the distance by the point of Cap Ferret. “Like all places where there are major tide patterns, it is an extremely diverse landscape,” continues the designer, who is a regular visitor to the area and loves the ocean. “It provides incredible walks, even onto the seabed, and in the primal soup which reveals itself, you sense how and why life began.”

The hotel, its rooms, its restaurant and its terrace are the gatehouse of these marine depths, a “natural theatre with gigantic dimensions, where the planet’s forces are in constant interaction.” There we can admire the variable geometry of the Banc d’Arguin, an immense sandy spit which emerges at certain times of the day and, reread in the language of reality the finest pages from Victor Hugo’s “The Man Who Laughs”, whose evocations of the moon, attraction and dangerous and beneficial currents inspired the design of the rugs which Philippe Starck designed for the hotel’s rooms. This perpetual astonishment is continued in the hotel’s unique location “placed on a sort of magic, a sort of miracle, an impossibility which is the largest dune in Europe”. A mass of Surrealist sand, a “grand site national” over which La Co(o)rniche has a unique vantage point.

Along with this evocation of the sea and the sand, we should add that of the ubiquitous pines. The Pilat-Plage district which borders La Co(o)rniche has developed in perfect harmony with them. The clairvoyance and perseverance of the Gaume family, which managed its development, ensured that the architecture blended in completely with nature. This is how only a few minutes from Arcachon, La Co(o)rniche nestles into surroundings which are preserved and still vibrant with that atmosphere so sought-after by the elite of the last century.

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Memory of time
The hotel’s entrance leads into the lobby which has been preserved intact. Its dark wood, frescoes and period furniture tells us of the friendly ghosts of times past, gallants and gentlemen, the leading stars of cinema, painters, writers and a crowd of anonymous faces, all of whom shared the rare experience of time spent here.

Intelligence of the object
In contrast to this preserved authenticity, “randomly placed” sculptures are dotted about, sort of glass and steel display cases as if they contained little treasures. Philippe Starck calls them “intelligent objects, for intelligent people, who come to this intelligent place”.

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