In my previous post about St Barths’ Le Sereno I mentioned that Christian Liaigre designed cosmetics tycoon Francois Nars’ private island estate in the South Pacific and it reminded me of this amazing editorial from the Dec 2004 issue of Vogue that was shot on the island. The article featured Canadian model Daria Werbowy and was photographed by Patrick Demarchelier.
The island is called Motu Tane, which translates to “island of universal love” or “island of man.” It’s one of 118 islands in French Polynesia and is a 5 minute boat ride from Bora Bora. In the late 90s Nars took a family trip, island hopping around French Polynesia, and fell in love. He was mesmerized by the color and beauty of the islands so much that he ended up buying one! (He had also just received a windfall of cash after having sold his company to Shiseido.) In 2000 he partnered up with Liagire to begin designing his fantasy island retreat.
Before Nars acquired the island it had none of the comforts of civility…no electricity, no running water, etc. Designing his dream resort was an extensive undertaking that required Liaigre to bring in a team of experts from around the world to help Nars realize his dream. This included an ecologist who was flown in from Australia to oversee the construction of the island’s water and utilities systems to ensure that none of the delicate reefs would be harmed as the pipes were being laid. He also brought in French landscape architect Pascal Cribier to overhaul the island’s landscaping and plant more than 1500 coconut palm trees on the property.
The end result is absolutely stunning. The stylish resort consists of 13 wooden bungalows with thatched roofs surrounded by a huge open living room (above) designed in the style of a traditional Tahitian meeting house. The interiors all feature dark, polished wood floors and Polynesian style furniture made of antique teak, African and Thai woods. Much of the furniture and many of the structural elements used to construct the bungalows were hand crafted in France and shipped to Motu Tane.
There are two very large master suite bungalows (pictured above), one for Nars and one for his parents. There are also two smaller guest suites with two bedrooms each and nine stand alone bungalows. All are situated right on the beach or in the property’s gardens.
There are also separate bungalows for fitness, a library (above), a kitchen (below), and a huge living compound for Nars’ staff who maintains the property. There’s even a photography studio which is used by Nars, also a photographer, as well as for photography crews to use while staging photo shoots there for publications like Vogue. Many of the property’s bungalows feature Nars’ own photography, mostly portraits of Polynesian natives.
Nars spends 5-6 months out of the year at Motu Tane. During the times he’s not there he rents the place out for up to $378K per week. Yikes! Have a look at a few more of the photos below. I mean, isn’t this the most beautiful place you’ve ever seen?! TRULY PARADISE!!! Motu Tane has a website for people interested in renting the island. Check it out here.
All photos by Patrick Demarchelier for Vogue (Dec ’04)