- Mangosteen Mansion by Patrick Robert, Yangon.
French interior designer and architect Patrick Robert began his long career as a designer for the Christian Dior fashion house in 1960s, where he styled negligees. Later he worked as scenographer, curating exhibitions from the Centre Pompidou to the Guggenheim to then retire – initially for a short time – to a nation that was very hard to get into at the time: Burma, now Myanmar. Despite the political situation, with a military dictatorship that has only opened to a civilian government in recent years, this country immediately won him over: the nation itself, a woman who became his wife, and a 1920s building - former home to the ruler of Myanmar's southern states, in Yangon.
Robert received a permit to work because he was married to a Burmese woman, and he turned this colonial-style timber mansion into Myanmar's most exclusive hotel, “Belmond Governor's Residence”.
Not far away, in the “Golden Valley” - the gentrified residential district of Yangon close to the gorgeous Lake Inya - Patrick Robert also built his own home, Mangosteen Mansion.
The origins of this home are hard to date, but it welcomes visitors into its gardens - or rather its lush urban jungle with palms and creepers climbing higher than 15 metres upwards, providing a refuge for tropical birds. A tribute to the endless shades of green, because as Patrick Robert explains “green is the colour whose shades we humans perceive the most”. For two years he collected plants from the various regions of Myanmar for a breath-taking result in a composition that writer Martin Schacht describes as a lot like a Henri Rousseau painting.
It is hard to describe Mangosteen Mansion with its exotic charm, and more importantly the harmonious blend of plants and architecture, of garden and interior design. So, we'll let Ken Schluchtmann's photographs do it for us. A visual story of a journey through design with a tropical feel.
Project: Patrick Robert
Location: Yangon, Myanmar
Work in progress
Inages: © Ken Schluchtmann