Corinne Vezzoni, architect from Marseilles

Elected Female Architect of the Year in 2015, Corinne Vezzoni invited us into her office, located on the 6th floor of Le Corbusier's Cité Radieuse. Refreshingly open, and calling herself "a chameleon architect," she tells her own story through her buildings. Meeting.
By Mélissa Darré

An epicurean woman

What are the little everyday things that make you happy?

I live in Marseilles, in an old fisherman's house right on the water. You enter through a patio and that space is my everyday pleasure. No matter what time it is, I love to spend time there taking care of my plants. It's a moment when I can just relax.

Your motto?

I often refer to the words of Jean Jaurés: "You have to go through the real to get to the ideal". I like that a lot. This focus on always setting the bar high, even if the real wins out in the end.

Your favourite time of the day?

It all depends on where I am. At home, at the weekend or during the holidays, I like teatime. I drink it all the time. At the office, I prefer the time when I'm alone at the start of a project. I need time to concentrate to develop a concept.

What's your cure for the blues?

Spending time outdoors. Living in the South, and even better, by the sea. Looking at the horizon, at something that's both neutral and powerful, opening up to infinity. 

Une femme épicurienne
Photography: José Nicolas

An authentic Marseillaise

A monument that personifies Provence?

The Fontvieille Chapel. It incarnates the aridity of the land, clinging to the rock and surrounded by the deep shadows of the pines and olive trees. Two important Provençal elements for me.

What is a typical regional gift you might give to a friend from another country?

Real Marseille soap!

The aspect of Provence you miss most when you are abroad?

This unrelenting light that brings out the drama of the region's contrast between land and sea.

The smell and sound that you associate with Provence?

For the smell, it's the garrigue: these very powerfully scented low-growing plants. For the sound, it's the wind.

Une Marseillaise authentique
Photography: José Nicolas

A dedicated architect

Your signature?

My architecture is like a chameleon: the key is the connection to the context. My approach is always to find a site's positive point, drawing on it to tell its story.

Your source of inspiration?

The South feeds my thinking: it doesn't reveal everything. You have to enter into a building's heart to understand its inner world. But once you enter, another universe opens up before your eyes.

The creation that best represents you?

The Supméca school of engineering in Toulon. It's situated in an industrial area, surrounded by a sea of big stores, where there is one little hill. I imagined a building embedded at the base of this green space, so as not to alter it. The entire structure was oriented towards a view of Mont Faron in the distance. 

Une architecte consciencieuse
Photography: José Nicolas

An attentive beauty lover

Your definition of female beauty?

It's a form of open-mindedness: the ability to embrace many different worlds.

The beauty ritual that sums you up?

I make sure to use moisturiser morning and evening.

The beauty essential you're never without?

My blusher, so I always have a healthy glow.

What's your little indulgence to make you feel beautiful?

I use lipstick, preferably mandarin orange, to wake up my face and help my smile sparkle.

Une beautysta attentive
Photography: José Nicolas

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