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Showcasing The Work And Life Of Charlie Chaplin

Chaplin's World - the Modern Times Museum on Lake Geneve

Elisabeth Lang, eTN  Sep 01, 2010

(eTN) - After over 10 years of planning and developments, with more than 200 pages of documents submitted to the municipal authorities describing the architectural, landscaping, environmental, and design parameters of a project with a 50 million Swiss franc investment, the approval for a future museum at Manoir de Ban (Charlie Chaplin's home) has been granted by the Swiss Authority.

The project aims in particular to preserve the current state of the domain, which was first introduced to the public by Michael Chaplin, Charlie Chaplin's son and president of the Charlie Chaplin Museum Foundation.

"Our family is especially honored to be involved in a project which has developed in a spirit of partnership and with all due respect for our father’s work," said Michael Chaplin. "We fully approve of the sensitive yet innovative concept developed by the team of partners led by the Charlie Chaplin Museum Foundation and Chaplin Museum Development SA. We are very excited by the use of multimedia and virtual technologies, which we believe will create a more magical and immediate way for the children of today to discover the interplay of light and dark so characteristic of our father."

“This is a scenitific and authenic Hollywood building and [is] going to be one of the most important museums in Switzerland,” said Yves Durand, (museologist). It is aimed to attract over 300,000 additional visitors per year, of which 60 percent will be international guests to Lake Geneve.
The Manoir, a brand new exhibition hall and extensive grounds offering an restricted view of one the most beautiful landscapes on the Swiss Riveria, is a stone's throw from the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lavaux.

The breathtaking view of the gardens, lake, and mountains will remain unchanged, just as it was for the artist and filmmaker during his 25-year stay here. The tree-lined paths circling the park will remain, albeit punctuated with rest areas complete with benches, fountains, and sculptures, in particularly Chaplinian style.

From the East Lane, London, where Sir Charles Spencer was born in 1889, to Corsier-sur-Vevey (where he died), the location is just in between Vevey and Montreux.

Keeping the burlesque style of Chaplin’s work, the visitor experience is to be decidedly droll and entertaining. Journey through time, from the performer’s modest beginnings in late Victorian London to the glamour of Hollywood and his Swiss home.

Manoir de Ban is more than just a museum
The natural décor and avant-garde design of the planned museum at Corsier-sur-Vevey evoke a period of history, which inspired films that have become famous the world over. Chaplin’s World is entertaining, spectacular, interactive, moving, and different. Perched on the boundary between entertainment and culture, and sensitive to the language used by children and families today, the daring concept employs the latest technologies and combines scenography, animated décors, multimedia elements, 3D and HD imagery, ambiophonic acoustics, special effects, virtual reality, and cinematography.

Chaplin’s World is intended to be much more than just a museum. The house itself retains the ambience of yesteryear, and the project also includes a VIP area for even the most prestigious functions, a multimedia theatre, and an exhibition area in a consciously Hollywood-esque style, a shop and café spread over three floors, an entrance piazza and terraces flanking fountains and hundred-year-old trees, an esplanade available to the local community for hosting performing arts events and festivals, and a stunning garden criss-crossed by paths and landscaped areas dotted with fountains and sculptures.

Nestlé Switzerland, is the official partner in the development of Chaplin’s World, and it is the first time that Nestle, who’s headquarters are in nearby Vevey, is getting involved in a touristic project on such a large scale.

"Nestlé has taken a close look at the nascent Chaplin Museum project and concluded that it could become an important spearhead for tourism, economic and cultural development in the Swiss Riviera, and indeed Switzerland as a whole,” confirmed Roland Decorvet, CEO of Nestlé Switzerland and official partner in the development of the Chaplin Museum project.

Mr. Decorvet underlined: "Nestlé’s involvement as a development partner in this major project is based on the conviction it shares with the authorities and Swiss investors that this is a project of international importance that cannot fail to have a significant positive effect on the Swiss Riviera and the Swiss economy.

"We were attracted by the combination of Chaplin’s image, the scope of his prestigious life's work, and the innovation and excellence that Chaplin’s World represents. We sincerely hope that the business and cultural sectors of the Swiss Riviera and all of Switzerland support the Museum Foundation and back the developers so that their plans can be realized as quickly as possible under the best possible conditions."

But 50 millions Swiss francs are not enough for the entire project planned by Philippe Meylan Architect and Yves Durand, project director. The project contains a range of shops, cafés, and terraces. The design concept, a combination of entertainment and culture, also extends to the configuration of the access to a range of public and commercial services, including a Chaplin-themed gift shop, a café-cinema in Gold Rush colors, a small London-style pub of the kind Charlie loved, and terraces offering an impressive view of the manor house and its lake-and-mountain backdrop.

But now with the project being approved, more investors are coming on board said project director Yves Durand. He added: “Works will not start until financial set-up is completely clarified, and that can be in November. The opening is now projected for summer 2012.”

The completion of the scenery as conceived by the men behind the project will take about 18 months and involve contributions from partners and suppliers in Switzerland and around the world, among them manufacturers, producers, technicians, IT specialists, scene shifters, lighting engineers, and musicians of international repute. The idea behind Chaplin’s World is to establish in Corsier-sur-Vevey, an exhibition of international significance. Exhibits include a giant re-creation of the machine from Modern Times that Chaplin used to portray the desparation of factory workers and the wine cellars.

Truly environmentally-friendly engineering
The Charlie Chaplin Museum will meet environmental protection standards while at the same time offering visitors all the necessary comforts. The project’s eco-friendly engineering design is based on the maximization of endogenous natural resources, for example by producing energy using heat pumps connected to geothermal probes and harnessing solar power for heating water. The insulation has been designed to minimize heat loss and capitalize on the available sunlight.

The construction of the new section of the museum will ensure it meets energy-consumption norms such as the Minergie® standard. The historic structure of the Manoir de Ban will also be taken into account in order to maintain and preserve its unique character while improving its energy consumption.

Chaplin's World - the Modern Times Museum on Lake Geneve

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