Exhibit Wall Panel
The Intercontinental Genève, opened in 1964, and followed the mid-century architectural model of a glass-sheathed horizontal podium supporting a slim tower. The façade had a classical feel that was enlivened by the checkerboard pattern formed by the opened or closed position of the windows’ curtains. Ariana Park and the Palace of Nations, the former headquarters of the League of Nations that became the home to the United Nations Geneva in 1946, was within walking distance. The hotel became a favorite destination for visiting diplomats and their retinue.
For the Intercontinental, Genève, under the leadership of Prince, the Department of Interior and Graphic Design would create some of his most dramatic interiors. Conscious of the international dignitaries who would make up the clientele, they designed luxurious and stately conference rooms complete with state-of-the-art interpretation equipment for multilingual off-site meetings of international organizations. The largest of these conference rooms was enveloped in warm wood paneling on the floors and ceiling, accented with rectangular and square patterns of brass trim, and top and side-lit by geometric fixtures spaced at regular intervals, creating an elegant and streamlined interior linked to the Art Deco Palace of Nations.
In the dining spaces, Prince tried to use design elements that reflected Geneva’s diverse, multinational population and its history as a major center for international diplomacy. For Les Continents Restaurant, where diners could feast on their choice of Tahitian boula boula, Chilean crevettes á la diable, and a wealth of other creations, exotic and familiar, Prince created room dividers with murals featuring each of the five continents– five instead of seven, because as a famous Pan-Am ad from the 1960s went, polar caps were the only places it didn’t fly. In the Carnival Bar and Lounge, he came up with the whimsical motif of the merry-go-round because it reminded him of the way that Geneva “picked up different cultures, different people…” This theme continued in the Café Le Voltaire where the combination of burgundies, roses, and soft whites in the canopy’s draping, the chairs’ upholstery, the tablecloths, and curtains, combined with the diffused light emanating from the cluster of bulbs under the center of the canopy, transformed the space into the interior of a jewel-box.