André Manoukian and Pascal Armand take up the challenge of creating in the heart of Chamonix a House of Artists, with a jazz club, a recording studio and a record label.
Chamonix is an ideal place of creation, both in the world and away from the crash.
The mountain is a source of inspiration, celebration, gathering.
Facing Mont Blanc on its mound, demonstrating physical remnant of the glacial history of the Chamonix valley, the original house full of history only wanted to find his soul and to offer once again to Chamonix unforgettable moments. The project builds on the very particular architectural character of the house.
La Villa des Amethysts, later called la Tournette, was built in 1926 by architect Debry for brothers Joseph and Julius Couttet, both son of François Couttet said Baguette, founder of the “Great hotel and Couttet Park”. This unusual villa is related to Art Nouveau in its composition and its original form. With a total area of 450m², it is built on 5 levels and is composed of multiple parts with very different shapes.
The weathervane, still present at the top of the house, represents two small ski characters. It is an evocation of the two brothers Couttet, bringing from Norway, with Michel Payot, skiing and its practice in the Chamonix valley.
After belonging to Mrs. Aimée Barrat (widow Joseph Couttet), Mr. Jacques Salmon and his wife Denise Barrat, Mrs Marie-Pierre de Cossé-Brissac, la Tournette is purchased by Maurice Herzog, Mayor of Chamonix from 1968 to 1977. The latter retains ownership until 2000, when the town of Chamonix, exercising its pre-emptive right, bought the house and the adjacent park. Maurice Herzog keep the enjoyment of the premises until 2002.
History of the villa
The Villa des Améthystes, later called la Tournette, was built in 1926 for the Couttet brothers, later bought by Maurice Herzog. It is today an essential place of musical creation at the foot of Mont Blanc. Here is the story of an atypical house told by Christine Lasserre (guide speaker) and Mrs. Herzorg.
La Maison des Artistes, artists residency dedicated to musical creation, offers in a park located in the heart of the city an exceptional tool, with rooms for up to 8 musicians.
Access to the recording studio is free, as is the accomodation, to complete a musical project for a period of 8 days. In exchange, the artists prowl their creation in the Club friday and saturday, offering concerts at an informed public.
The musicians retain ownership of their masters.
Featuring the most efficient recording equipment and an acoustic arrangement for recording live concerts as well as genuine phonographic productions, the studio is composed of:
- a control room,
- an outlet enclosure,
- a cab pickup of speech,
- a “convertible” living room,
- a scene on the floor of the Jazzclub.
The living room and the stage are connected to the control which allows to use them as taking rooms and can record everything together with professional quality. The complex is equipped of speakers in the centerpieces of the house, allowing to listen to the recording session or concert.