Modern in Monaco

They only buy what appeals to them. Staying close to their own taste, art connoisseurs Vanessa and Adrian Margowski have managed to create a timeless place.

Vanessa and Adrian Margowski’s house is located in fairy-tale-like Le Rocher, the first district to be conquered by the Grimaldi family some 700 years ago. Le Rocher is situated on a metres-high monolith in Monaco, a rock that offers stunning views of the Mediterranean from almost every angle. The three-storey apartment at a five-minute walk from the prince’s palace was given an extra floor in 2000. Adrian: ‘From the outside, it doesn’t show at all. The style of the building was completely preserved, but in terms of liveability, a lot has changed indeed. It’s a modest building with modest-sized floors, so we could really use those extra metres.’

Art Lovers

Adrian has been living in the house that he inherited from his family for years, but it got the special look it has today only after his wife Vanessa moved in. ‘Vanessa has worked in galleries for years, both here in Monaco and in Paris. Our interior clearly reflects her know-how and love of modern art.’ Vanessa: ‘We selected every item together, though! I didn’t buy any of the art or extraordinary furniture in our house by myself. We share this passion and we really enjoy visiting art and furniture fairs together, whether it’s the Salone del Mobile in Milan, Artissima in Turin, Freeze in London or Art Basel in Miami.’ Her former profession left her with plenty of contacts in the world of art. It’s a world that often involves big business, especially in Monaco. Vanessa: ‘To some people, art is an investment, something you’ll be able to sell for a lot of money one day. Adrian and I only buy things we absolutely love. We don’t care at all whether the artist is famous, or whether something is a good investment.’

Vanessa and Adrian had the sofa on the veranda upholstered in saffron-yellow velvet. The low table is a design by Jacques Dumond and the black-and-white photograph on the floor, bought at an auction, shows an interior by Paris artists and decorator Louis Sognot, who was a member of the UAM, de Union des Artistes Modernes, in the 1930s. The black lamps are the Ball Lights by Michael Anastassiades.


Though the building dates from the eighteenth century, the atmosphere inside is modern and pleasantly timeless and this is enhanced by its extraordinary collection of chairs, tables, sofas and lamps from different periods. In the living room a brightly striped, built-in sofa catches the eye. Adrian: ‘I had that sofa made years ago, but we’ve recently had it reupholstered with an eye to the maritime character of the city. We bought the dark blue-and-white striped fabric at a boat and yacht upholstery.’ Those who have few square metres at their disposal must make clever use of them. That’s why Adrian and Vanessa’s coffee table is also made-to-measure. The two rectangles are completely clad in the same soft pink carpet that covers the floors throughout the apartment. ‘We didn’t fancy a classic coffee table, we preferred something ottoman-like,’ says Adrian. ‘Something you can also sit on, or even walk across, like a kind of extension of the floor. One day I was watching a ceremony at Westminster Palace and it suddenly hit me. Queen Elisabeth was sitting on a throne that stood on a platform clad in beautiful dark pink carpeting [in the Robing Room, PvD]. Voilà, I thought, that’s the kind of table we want.’

The blue vase in front of the Albert Chubac print (a find of Adrian’s) is by Studio Glithero and the wall light between the two recesses is by Angelo Lelli. The low coffee table is composed of two carpet-clad MDF rectangles. The black-and-white photo of the boxer is Mon dernier combat by Philippe Perrin, the pouf to the right is a prototype by artist Bethan Laura Wood, the Spider lamp is a Joe Colombo design, the two white wall lamps are by Pierre Guariche.

École de Nice

The two cubist prints by Albert Chubac, co-founder of the École de Nice movement, are a find of Adrian’s. ‘I love old-timers and one day, when I was looking at one in some old garage, I noticed these drawings. They were in a corner and covered with dust. I was allowed to have them and once they were cleaned and framed they looked splendid in the two bookcases that we’d just painted white.’ Vanessa: ‘Originally, the bookcases were the same dark wood as the stairs, but one day we were whitewashing the walls and spontaneously decided to paint the bookcases as well. And the Chubacs come out really well against the white background, as if they’ve always been here.’


The black-and-white photograph of people dancing is Jour de Noël by Malik Sidibé. On the vintage table, bought at a flea market in Paris, is a vase by Andrea Branzi. The work on the column next to the table is by the same artist. The small black-green bench was designed by the Thonet brothers.


This production was published in WOTH No1. This issue is still available in english via Bruil & van der StaaijOr get a subscription here!

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The MDF walk-in closet was designed by Vanessa and Adrian. The hanging lamp is by Stilnovo. In the bedroom are two Geisha side tables by André Groult. The photograph by the headboard is by Ojeikere and the vintage lamps are by Fortuny.