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March 05, 2014

Jacques Garcia’s Opus

By Jason Chen | Books, Home + Design

Jacques Garcia: Twenty Years of Passion: Château du Champ de Bataille
Photo © James T. Murray

In 1992 the French designer purchased Château du Champ de Bataille in Normandy. After 20 years of meticulous sourcing and renovation, his masterpiece is complete.

Champ de Bataille—restored, furnished and decorated—weaves together all the threads of Jacques Garcia’s life and work. The narrative ostensibly starts in 1992, with the Paris-based architect and interior designer’s acquisition of the derelict estate. But in fact the story goes back much further, to Garcia’s first visit to the château as an awestruck 12-year-old with his father.

Over the course of two decades—including periods when Garcia, 66, came close to giving up entirely—the project slowly but surely took shape, eventually pushing beyond the boundaries of the Normandy estate to encompass Italy and India. In the follies and temples that dot his gardens, Garcia has reconstructed history; in his library and cabinet of curiosities, he has given expression to an encyclopedic ambition; in his Mogul palace and gardens, the riches of the world are on display.

Champ de Bataille is the culmination of a personal journey and life story; it is also the most subtle and eloquent of self-portraits.

Adapted from former Louvre director Henri Loyrette’s introduction in Jacques Garcia: Twenty Years of Passion: Château du Champ de Bataille (Rizzoli), which comes out March 4.