Restoration of the Hôtel de Caumont
Starting in July 2013, an extensive restoration program was launched to restore the Hôtel de Caumont to its former glory. Supervised by the Regional Department of Cultural Affairs, the Regional Directorate for the Conservation of Historical Monuments and the Architect of the Buildings of France, this program draws on the expertise of Mireille Pellen, Heritage Architect.
The first stage of the restoration program, the renovation of the façade, has allowed Culturespaces to highlight the "baroque Aix style" of the Hôtel de Caumont which served as a model for several other buildings in Aix. Of an elegant sobriety, the external decoration of the facade is a harmonious blend of the Parisian style, marked by its classicism, and that of Aix, more baroque and with a Provençal accent. Their opposition is the foundation of the stylistic originality of the venue and the quality of its implementation. "We rediscover here the expertise of the architect Robert de Cotte, who composes and plays with the alternation of styles to magnify the facade", explains Mireille Pellen. Among the Provençal artists who have contributed to its decoration are some of the most memorable figures in Aix-en-Provence – the sculptors Toro and Chastel, and the locksmith Mignet.
"During the renovation of the facade, stonemasons replaced the worst affected stonework, in particular on the northern face of the hotel. On the eastern façade, the entire glass window that bestows all its charm and brightness on the entrance hall has been restored. New mouth-blown glass elements have been installed, giving a very beautiful luminosity", indicates Mireille Pellen.
Substantial work was undertaken on the ironwork by the Romano locksmithy, located at Combas in the Gard region. The various decorative motifs of the guard rails and balconies of the mansion, badly corroded by rust or damaged by superman water and frost infiltrations, had to be dismantled and meticulously restored in the workshop. Thus, each broken or damaged part was carefully refurbished with pure iron and then covered with a zinc-rich paint. The great balcony, decorated with beautifully crafted ironwork is now gilded with fine gold.