Big hotel built in Nice in 1896 by architect Biasini*. Closely associated to queen Victoria of England who lived in it during the Winter seasons of her last years of life. From 1930, the hotel was transformed into apartments ; it lost a part of its lounges. On the other hand, the decoration of the facade is almost intact (except for the tops), as well as the roofs. The current polychromy is fanciful.

Régina is Biasini’s masterpiece. Constructed posthaste by a financier, with commercial imperatives, the building is an enlarged resumption of the Riviera-palace, built in 1892 by Biasini: the internal decoration, the decorative sculpture of columns, the morphology and place of the porch, the general look of the facade are identical (regrettably in both buildings many of these features disappeared). The repetitive character is all the more sensitive in a building of monumental scale, as it is besides a point of abutment of the big boulevard de Cimiez' The critics of the time rightly regretted the flat mass, the height, the effect of ridge masking the beautiful view on the hills.

Nevertheless, even most of these defects answer logically the hotel aesthetics of Belle Époque: ostentation, triumphalism of building on nature, assertion of greatness by repetition of small and numerous identical modules. From this point of view, Biasini, contrary to Tersling for the Bristol hotel, carried to its limits the party, old and even old-fashioned, of the facade with superimposed and different floors. This lesson of advertising morgue was for the last time resumed by Dettloff* in the Parc Imperial and by Febvre* in the Majestic hotel.

The dominant quality lies rather in the silhouette and the global treatment of the facade: pinnacles, minarets, attic of slate, although absurd in their variety, registers skillfully the building in the site and shows at the same time Biasini’s boldness and competence. This late eclectic aesthetics, which proceeds by addition and not by composition, marks the last moments of a style called indispensably to improve, and which will result in the neo-classic production after 1900. Moreover, hotel Régina was realized by Biasini at the end of his career : it represents as much a professional triumph, an aesthetic outcome, as a completion.

Michel STEVE

 

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