Are we seeing double? Are those Monaco colours or diamond-backed playing cards?
You choose in which fantasy you wish to be carried away in today. It is a play on the imagination anyway – this striking redecoration of the Atrium lobby of Salle Garnier.
You may feel that you have fallen down a rabbit hole in Alice and Wonderland. And here if you wander into the adjoining gaming rooms you will indeed find the Queen of Diamonds and the Queen of Hearts but not the Mad Hatter. Because there is no madness here, rather a creative strategy to attract a broader market of clients for the Casino, including players who have moderate budgets and would enjoy a flutter in Monte Carlo.
Love it or hate it? Do not hate it; it is there to amuse, to tease the imagination perhaps, but not to provoke. And if it does not speak squarely to your tastes await the next revolution in decor, while you concentrate on your “diamond”cocktail. It will not be so long to wait for another creative revamp – perhaps a seasonal event; one that will become a talking point and eagerly awaited. It all adds to our pleasure and entertainment.
This new striking decor of cascading patterns of diamonds is the creation of Charles Kaisin. And his team has been working for months translating the idea into reality. It takes 1500 square metres of material alone to create this effect – the table cloths, the chair coverings, canapés, armchairs – all down to details like serving diamond-cocktails with servers dressed in the same colours. And why not treat yourself to a pleasurable lunch at prices that will not break the bank. A crazy decor, a Casino with rooms one more beautiful than the other and now a pink room where it is possible to choose a menu, type Brasserie, for 45 euros only.
The theme does have a name but in English “Let’s fall in Diamonds” does not do it justice. Let’s call it “Cascading Diamonds”. James Bond, Casino Royale, Skyfall, Diamonds are Forever. All this is evoked by this creative play with pink and white diamond-shaped patterns in fabric. It’s almost as if the Atrium was jazzed-up top to bottom to celebrate Monaco’s National Holiday on November 19th, so lively and gay is its decor.
And we have to wonder, what would Charles Garnier, the great architect of the Salle Garnier think of it? Well he would be amused – surely an architect from Paris would be at comfort with any style and Monte Carlo has always been avant-garde. Just as California is a bell-weather of trends and a predictor of the future for the United States so too in many ways is Monaco for Europe.
The Atrium has an illustrious history because it is where the first casino was built and in those days it had a wooden platform on which an orchestra of 15 musicians could perform.
In its current splendour it began as the Salle des Pas-Perdus and then became the magnificent vestibule as we know it today with 28 Ionic columns in marble, supporting a balustraded gallery which is lit by remarkable bronze candelabras. The engraved glass in the ceiling provided by the Maison Bitterlin and chosen by Marie Blanc, provides feeble lighting for the two large paintings on panels in the galleryproduced in 1878 by the Alsatian artist Gustave Adolphe Jundt.
Playful, joyful, cheerful, flirtatious, whimsical, funny, vivacious, absurd, mischievous, gay – these are the words that whirl around your head as you take in the vista. At the end of the day it really is a marketing success which is a particular Monte-Carlo forte.
It has created a buzz. Now, following the buzz, Pascal Camia Director responsible for Gaming would like to see more and more players at home in the Casino. One thing is sure, it has caught our imagination and this is the first step in creating an event that after being repeated several times will undoubtedly become a trend.
Hello Monaco awaits the next splash into the unknown, the next fantastical transformation of the Atrium – it is something to dream about in the meantime. We are told the project for the next transformation of the Atrium is top secret. But we have a clue as to the timing – early in the New Year toward the end of January. HelloMonaco will be there to “unwrap” the mysterious impish gift that awaits us in the New Year.