January 29, 2009

Villas on the Promenade. Number 139: Villa Collin-Huovila

Out of hundreds of villas that once existed on the Promenade des Anglais, this is one of the survivors, now being squashed between apartment blocks. It is located on number 139, near the Lenval hospital on the Promenade.

Plans for this amazing (exaggerated !) Art Nouveau building with its curved façade, polychrome ceramic decorations and impressive red roof shaped like a Samourai's hat, were drawn up by Marius Allinge in 1907 for Carl Constantin Collin (1863-1941), an eccentric Finnish millionaire. The villa has changed owners, but is still in private hands.

The corner carytid sculpture, created by François Louis Virieux, is a delightful scene showing a young lady playfully trying to avoid a shower of roses from two cherubs.

I made this picture last year. It is a pity that they made windows and did not keep the little glasses as you see in the first picture. However the contrast couldn't be bigger with this adjacent villa in art deco style. It is amazing how the style changes only a few years later.

This picture can be found on http://www.huovila.net/gallery/Fgallery2-2.jpg
The original detached house once upon a time ...(today it is on the left attached to an apartment house).


  1. How they have raped the building, what a shame.
    I am the realitve of the second and so far the longest lasted owner. By changing the stylish widows to aluminium sliding doors they reduced the beauty of the tower dramatically and the grasp of old times have slipped away. Sad!

  2. Thank you very much for your comment. I totally agree with you. I really cannot understand that people that own such a characteristic villa break down the stylish elements.
    Obviously you know best the history of the second owner better. As far as I know is the villa only 12 years later, in 1919, bought by Madame Nicolaïeff, the mother-in-law of Auguste Maïcon, the French aviator who became famous for flying his bi-plane under the Var Bridge in 1919. I read that this was actually quite a remarkable act of "daring-do" as the arched bridge was 20 metres wide and 6 metres high and Maïcon's plane had a 14 metre wingspan and was 4 metres high.

  3. Yes I have a unpublished manuscript of some 300 pages of the finnish history of the house. The house was bought from Mr. Collin in late 1916 but the registration could not be done until end of the WW1.

  4. I am playing a role of Carl Constantin Collin in next summer at Huovila Park (Huovilan Puisto) in Finland. I would like to know further knowledge of Villa Huovila. In www-page http://www.karkola.fi/Huovilan_puisto/historia_lisaa.htm you can find photo of Carl Constantin Collin and in www-page http://www.huovila.net/gallery/Fgallery2-2.jpg you can see Villa Huovila with original style.