09 Feb 2024
FOR. design planning unveils the magic of L’Île Mystérieuse, where the story of a Jules Verne enthusiast unfolds. After having unearthed over 300 artefacts from auctions and estate sales over the years, the client dreamed of opening a museum where his collection could be displayed.
A real estate opportunity allowed the client to convert his dream into reality and share his passion for all things Jules Verne with local and visiting tourists. He created an entire ecosystem around the museum, adding a restaurant lounge and boutique. The result is Île Mystérieuse, named after the Jules Verne novel (The Mysterious Island) detailing the tragic end of his famous Captain Nemo.
This Île Mystérieuse is anchored in a 20th-century building nicknamed the Blue House, to which a new glass extension has been added. The house's doors, windows, and roof were completely renovated, while its stone walls and fireplaces were preserved and restored to their original state.
A curtain-wall extension, housing the mini-museum and boutique, impresses with its large exterior custom-made fresco depicting Captain Nemo's poignant death on Mysterious Island. The restaurant's entrance is similarly distinguished by a giant backlit island map, while a bay window and porthole portray maritime scenes and sea creatures.
Inside, visitors are immersed in a 19th-century cigar lounge atmosphere, where Jules Verne's first editions, works of art, and ship models are displayed like a cabinet of curiosities. Rattan furniture, coffered walls, and cabinetry details reminiscent of old china cabinets further evoke the essence of the period.
The journey of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea continues around a large circular bar and staircase, all in bronze mesh and illuminated with fixtures propelling a beam of light. The resulting imagery is reminiscent of a submarine descending into the aquatic vortex. On the ceiling, glittering points of light recreate the constellation of Aquarius, Jules Verne’s astrological sign. Perforated metal mesh recurs as a dividing wall between the public area and the dining room benches, adjacent to a bronze arch that marks a pompous entrance to the restaurant area.
At the bottom of the circular staircase, the bathrooms are bathed in the blackness of the abyss. Custom-designed for this project, the wallpaper features skulls, gloomy-looking fish, eels, and golden coral against a murky background. A small spotlight timidly diffuses light, like a lantern fish. Under a large mirrored dome at the washbasin, visitors have the impression of being observed under a magnifying glass or through a telescope.
Above all, L'Île Mystérieuse is the story of a collector's passion. However, it is also a tribute to the co-owner's grandfather, father, and brothers, who all served as ship captains on the St. Lawrence River. Along with Captain Nemo, L’Île Mystérieuse is a tribute to them all.