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Architectural Digest Reveals Design for Russian Government-Commissioned Pavilion of Treaties at the Konstantinovsky Palace near St. Petersburg.

Feature Editors/Business Editors

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 7, 2003

New York Designer Juan Pablo Molyneux Conceives a Palace in Russia

Architectural Digest, the international magazine of interior design, reveals in its May 2003 issue a first-look at design plans for the Pavilion of Treaties just outside of St. Petersburg.

Designer Juan Pablo Molyneux, who has offices in New York and Paris, was commissioned by Russian president Vladimir Putin to come to Strelna, near St. Petersburg, to design and build a small but impressive pavilion a short distance from the Konstantinovsky Palace, dedicated to the signing of treaties and the reception of heads of state.

The last member of the royal family to live in the palace was Grand Duke Dmitry Konstantinovich, who was executed by the Bolsheviks in 1919. Under Stalin the complex served as what a Russian source calls "a resort." During the cold war it was renamed "Leningrad Arctic University." And finally, like much of the Soviet Union, it was abandoned, pillaged and fell to ruin."The current Russian president, Vladimir Putin is a cultivated man of surprising aesthetic sophistication and a student of history," Molyneux says. "He wants to restore Strelna to its former glory...symbolism, tradition and continuity are very important to the Russians, in spite, or perhaps because of communism's radical break with the past."

Molyneux's approach to the project was to create a miniature villa in the Palladian style of the main palace that echoed, but didn't copy, the gracefully columned exteriors.

The pavilion's inner sanctum is the Hall of Ceremonies, which is meant to resemble a small classical temple, and in the hush that attends the solemn signing of a treaty, one can watch the clouds through the skylights. The columns that support the dome of the rotunda are clad in scagliola--a form of seamless tromp l'oeil marble or hard stone that was common in old St. Petersburg, a town with famous imperial stone works and byzantine taste for ostentation.

The site is a pearl-shaped island near the shore, at the foot of a French-style garden. There is a mooring for the presidential yacht, which can sail to the main entrance and back to sea through a deep-water canal. The structure has two symmetrical entrances at opposite sides, one for the president, the other for his foreign counterpart. The leaders have identical private suites, each with a sitting room and a library. "I also designed an intimate 'summit' dining room with a table for two," says Molyneux. "The decor strikes a balance between sumptuousness and sobriety. Putin is apparently very pleased with it, because he sent word that he would like a framed rendering."

Floor plans and color renderings of the Pavilion of Treaties are available for art.

The May 2003 issue of Architectural Digest arrives on newsstands April 8, 2003.

Architectural Digest is the definitive design magazine, reporting on the best international design to an affluent audience of 5.4 million readers each month. The magazine regularly features the work of world-class authors and photographers that present a "first look" at the homes of leaders in the fields of entertainment, fashion, business, society, literature, and the arts.
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