Stars grace a pool
“Tarzan” attended the opening. Jonny Weissmüller, winner of many Olympic medals, and the actor who gained world fame in the role of the Ape Man, was a guest back in 1929 when Piscine Molitor in Paris was first opened its doors to the public. The pool complex formed part of a large sports and leisure center realized in the first decades of the 20th century in the 16th arrondissement. Two large sport stadiums had previously stood here on a site that straddled part of the city’s former fortifications, and the location is immediately adjacent to both the hippodrome in Bois de Boulogne and the Roland Garros tennis stadium. Piscine Molitor consisted of an open-air summer pool and a winter pool covered with a glass roof. Both pools were surrounded by multi-storey galleries leading to the changing rooms. Architect Lucien Pollet created something between Art Déco and Modernism, in the process drawing inspiration from the large ocean steamers of the time.
From the word Go Piscine Molitor was a huge success. It was used as a venue for large galas and fashion shows. Here in 1946, for example, Louis Réard presented to the world a garment some people thought scandalous, namely the bikini. However, from the 1970s onwards the pool’s fortunes took a turn for the worse. First a roller skating rink built to replace the winter pool was a flop. And gradually dilapidation set in. In 1989, Piscine Molitor was closed and fell into a long and deep slumber. For the next 25 years it became a canvas for street artists and a stage for underground concerts. Plans to destroy the pool were thwarted by local citizens and eventually it was declared a listed building, which saved it from demolition. In 2007, plans to revamp the complex began to mature. The historic substance was restored and additional storeys added. In 2014, a four-star hotel, spa, restaurant, sports club and a bar moved into the new complex. Both pools are now in operation again and can be used not only by hotel guests and club members but also for school sport. Piscine Molotor has been restored to its former glory.
Now the highly traditional swimming pool has met up with a second Parisian legend, namely the metal furniture by Fermob, whose “Luxembourg” models grace the Paris park Jardin de Luxembourg. For Piscine Molitor, Fermob chairs and tables from the “Luxembourg”, “Croisette”, “Bellevie” and “Ariane” series were selected when it came to refurbishing the outdoor areas. Cheerful and harmonious sitting areas were created by selecting summer colors that reflect the shades of their environs. Specifically, classic “Luxembourg” chairs in white, turquoise and red were placed on the galleries near the changing facilities, while on the roof terraces lounge chairs from the “Bellevie” collection and “Ariane” tables create areas that invite you to linger. Here mid-gray and turquoise colored frames were combined with pale gray upholstery. Finally, armchairs from the “Croisette” range and “Alizé” tables in yellow and white were used for the informal rooftop areas.
During the Fermob Design Days 2019, which focused on “Color in the Outdoor World”, the refurbished outdoor areas were presented to a specialist audience. And “Piscine Molitor” provided the perfect setting, as it has done for the last 90 years. (fap)