Transformation of Monaco’s Fontvieille District

Only fifty years ago Fontvieille was nothing more than a narrow stretch of sand where the rock plunged into the sea. Today 12% of Monaco’s population reside in Fontvieille, an area, built on land reclaimed from the sea as part of the late Prince Rainier III’s plans to expand the Principality.

Monaco’s second harbour, which is lined with bars and restaurants, Fontvieille is home to businesses, parks, a football stadium and luxury real estate. This haven of peace accommodates 275 yachts, making it one of the most desirable addresses in Europe.

Italian award-winning architectural firm Studio Fuksas, led by Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas, won a competition for the project, with a design grouping the cultural, commercial and public areas within a connected tiered structure. Reconstruction’s project management led by the Montpellier’s commercial developer Socri Reim.

Contemporary five storey development will cover 33,900m² (instead of current 13,245m² spread over two floors) and will be built on the site of Centre Commerciale de Fontvieille. Each level will open onto curved terraces embellished with greenery.  Two bridges on either side of the building will give pedestrians access over the main road to a new landscaped area in front of the harbour.  The terraces on each level will be interlinked by ramps and staircases.

The curved, organic form of the sea-facing structure aims to echo the natural environment, while the generous vegetation will allow nature to enter the urban space. “The project directs the building to the outside, towards the horizon, creating new links with the environment and the natural landscape all around” – as explained by the architects.

Inside the building, the interiors and furniture of each floor will be distinguished by colour. While the ground floor will be red to reflect the tiles of the historic center of Monaco, the first floor will be sea-blue, and the second purple to resemble lavender. On the third floor, shades of ocher will be used to reference nearby buildings, and the fifth level will be finished in grey tones to echo the cliffs of Cote d’Azur.

With the expected completion in 2027, the ambitious project, including the hypermarket, shops, restaurants, multiplex cinema and the state-owned tower of 41 apartments, all furnished with 2,000 trees, is described as a “vertical park” connecting the city to the sea.

by Olga Barrale