Jacques Garcia conceived a fantastical pavilion, true to its origin, in the style of a decorated tent on the grounds of his chateau, Champ de Bataille, in Normandy, France. sometime in the 1990’s, several years after he purchased the expansive property. The English origin of the word pavilion comes from Old French, pavillon, based on the Latin papilio – meaning butterfly, or tent.
I have been forever fascinated with pavilions and folies de grandeur. Their intimate scale and theatricality elicit dreams of fantasy and escape, of palace intrigue and secret liaisons. For the realization of his own architectural fantasy Garcia looked to the Guards Tent of Gustav III at Drottningholm Castle in Sweden. Similar by design, Garcia built his of lead instead of wood, with painted stripes down the sides imitating tent fabric. Structures such as these have traditionally been built for specific and often temporary uses, such as shelter from inclement weather. When the cold of winter arrives Garcia disassembles and stores the pavilion until the arrival of the next Spring.
The interior of the pavilion is decorated with Moroccan rugs and textiles, lending the space an Orientalist atmosphere. The easy, casual nature of the bleached wicker furniture is a welcoming contrast to the exuberant red drapery and pair of sparkling chandeliers, and compliments the natural ground of the patterned fabrics and layered rugs. With straw hats and reading material casually plopped onto chairs and benches, and a panoply of candlesticks, photophores and votives at the ready, all one needs to do is close their eyes to envision the magical and sensory delights this space evokes. It is a French colonial fantasy reborn in the 21st-century.
Another view into the interior of the pavilion reveals the art of the mix, where a simple painted wooden garden table paired with rattan chairs contrasts opulent swaths of ermine red and dressmaker details.
Jacques Garcia based the design of his pavilion on Gustav III’s Vakttältet (Turkish tent), a wooden structure built in 1781 to house the royal dragoon guards.
Photos of Jacques Garcia’s pavilion taken by François Halard for House & Garden.