The houses of the Cité internationale exhibit a variety of architectural influences, but all share the same attention to detail in their interior and exterior design. Some architects joined forces with artists and designers to produce the furniture, fixtures and fittings. The fundamental aim of the campus’s houses is to optimise the student experience by offering vast communal spaces that promote dialogue, interaction, fun and friendship. The entrance halls are often majestic: take, for example, the grandiose entrance of the Fondation Biermans-Lapôtre, or the magnificent staircase of the Maison Heinrich Heine. The large lounges hosting cultural events play an important role in shaping the houses’ image and profile. Some of them boast exceptional frescos and paintings
Several artists have produced frescos for these lounges, which are used for cultural exchanges and dialogue with the world. The Fondation des Etats-Unis is home to monumental Art Deco frescos by Robert La Montagne Saint-Hubert with listed historic monument status, evoking the golden age of French art. The lounge of the Fondation Biermans-Lapôtre boasts frescos painted in 1927 by René Gaucher. They show places and buildings characteristic of the history and cultural heritage of the cities of Brussels, Antwerp, Namur and Liège.
The lounge of the Fondation hellénique, decorated in a neoclassical style, includes a frieze painted by Pierre Victor Robiquet depicting scenes inspired by ancient games and mythology. The music room at the Fondation Deutsch de la Meurthe has an academic décor that revolves around the theme of dance, painted by Guy-Loë and restored by students from the Institut National du Patrimoine.
The Résidence Lucien Paye contains monumental tapestries by Roger Bezombes. The large lounge at the Collège Néerlandais is adorned with two paintings by Hordijk and Doeve, one dedicated to the great Dutch universities, and the other a map of the Netherlands in colonial times. The large lounge and entrance hall of the Maison du Japon are decorated with two wall paintings by renowned artist Tsuguharu Foujita, commissioned directly by the founder: “Westerners Come To Japan” and “The Horses”.
And we should not forget the lavishly decorated large lounge of the Maison de l’Asie du Sud-Est, with its balustrade based on a pattern from the Imperial Palace in Hue, Vietnam. The house’s entrance hall also contains a painting produced by Lê Phô in 1929, “Hanoi” or “A Mother and Three Children Resting in a Courtyard”.
Each house has its own unique furniture, sometimes designed to match its architecture. Jean Royère and Charles Eames were commissioned to produce furniture for the Fondation Avicenne.
At the Maison du Brésil, the second house designed by Le Corbusier in 1959, after the Fondation suisse, the interior design of the bedrooms was entrusted to Charlotte Perriand (the historic bedroom, which is open to the public, contains the original furniture). Jean Prouvé and Harry Bertoïa were also called upon. At the Fondation danoise, Danish design is represented through works by two of its most famous representatives: Hans Wegner (who designed the lounge furniture) and Poul Henningsen (responsible for the pinecone lighting in the large lounge).
Another example is the Maison des Provinces de France, which oozes refinement as soon as you step into the entrance hall, with its remarkable mosaics. It is home to original furniture by Léon Jallot, Jacques Adnet, Eugène Printz, and Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann. Ruhlmann also designed the wallpaper, which was recreated by the Atelier d’Offard in Tours when the house underwent a full refurbishment in 2003.
Opposite, the Fondation Rosa Abreu de Grancher is equipped with mahogany furniture designed by Albert Laprade, which has been almost totally preserved. The students of the Collège néerlandais, meanwhile, live and work in historic buildings designed at the same time as the building itself by Modernist architect Willem Marinus Dudok in 1938.
The furniture designed by Charlotte Perriand for the Fondation suisse is one of the great strengths of this house by Le Corbusier. In the bedrooms, as well as in the communal spaces on the ground floor, the volumes, décor and furniture marry perfectly to form a coherent, harmonious whole. For the Maison de Tunisie by architect Jean Sebag, opened in spring 1953, Charlotte Perriand was charged with designing forty bedrooms with the assistance of visual artists Sonia Delaunay, Nicolas Schöffer, Silvano Bozzolini (for the polychromy) and the Ateliers Jean Prouvé (for the execution). She also designed the library of the Maison du Mexique.
The gardens of the Maison du Mexique are home to a replica of the sun stone, an iconic work of Aztec art.
The lounge of the Danish Foundation is adorned with frescos by Kraesten Iversen exploring the Danish countryside through the prism of the four seasons.
This painting by the famous artist Tsugouharu Foujita, which has hung in the Maison du Japon since 1929, depicts the meeting of two civilisations.
Originally from the Church of Santa Maria dei Servi in Milan, this fresco, attributed to an artist close to Giovannino de’ Grassi, is on display at the Maison de l’Italie.
The renovation of the Maison des étudiants de l’Asie du Sud-Est enabled this 1929 painting to be restored by the students from the Institut national du Patrimoine.
This painting by Jerk Werkmäster, exhibited in the Maison des étudiants suédois, echoes the naive mural style characteristic of Sweden’s Dalarna region.
The walls of the central library are adorned with a painting by George Léo Nicolas Degorce celebrating the medieval origins of the university of Paris.
The Cneai (National Centre for Contemporary Arts) is a contemporary arts centre at the Cité internationale. A place of research, production and the dissemination of art, the centre awaits you! Come and discover the indoor and outdoor programme and participate in a range of activities: expositions, events, collections and cultural and educational activities
The Cité internationale Theatre organises workshops enabling them to practice an artistic discipline related to the stage. They are accompanied by artists in residence or outside contributors.