Friday, March 14, 2014

Cité U | Maison de la Tunisie

Finally I finished another post about a house in the Cité. Took me a while, but it's here! I decided to add a simple map as well, so that you can have an idea of the plan and location of each house. 

The Maison de la Tunisie was designed in the 50's by Jean Sebag and it perfectly embodies the architectural style of that time with its strict structure and right angles. It has almost 200 rooms and it was completely renovated in 2006 by Tunisian architect Karim Berrached.
One of the many interesting things about this particular house is that it was made 3 years before Tunisia achieved independence from France, therefore all of the interiors and furniture are designed by born and raised french artists like Charlotte Perriand and Marcel Gascoin. The first Tunisian director of the house only came in 1956 when he was assigned for the position by Tunisia's new president Habib Bourguiba, who… guess what? Was a former resident of Deutsch De La Meurthe Foundation here in the Cité.
 *Important people lived and live here!… Me not being one of them.

Another really cool thing is their commitment to divulge new Tunisian artists that play with different media and supports. You can notice an effort from each house to put out as much of their national culture as they possibly can with concerts, exhibitions, conferences, but most of them don't really go all out in terms of contemporary art, they like to play it safe. Oil-Painting-Opera-Singing-Ocasional-Acustic-Guitar safe. But not Tunisia! Hell to the no! They make statements and in December last they invited French-Tunisian street artist eL Seed to do a bold arabic calligraphy graffiti on the front wall of the house. It's a true work of art and movement, beautiful in complexity and full of meaning. Here's a small video about the process and its significance. 

© Madalena Soares Carneiro and ó/O, 2014. The illustrations showed here are of unauthorised use and/or duplication without permission  Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given the author. 

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