M. Hulot is the dreamy, impractical, and adored uncle of young Gérard (nine years old), who lives with his materialistic parents in an ultra-modern geometric house and garden (Villa Arpel) in a new suburb of Paris, situated just beyond the crumbling stone buildings of the old neighborhoods of the city. Gérard’s parents, M. and Mme. Arpel, are firmly entrenched in a machine-like existence of work, fixed gender roles, and the acquisition of status through possessions and conspicuous display. (A running gag involves a fish-shaped fountain at the center of the Arpels’ garden that Mme. Arpel turns on only for important visitors).
Each element of Villa Arpel is representational rather than functional, an environment completely hostile to the comfort of its occupants. In choosing modern architecture to punctuate his satire, Tati once stated, « Les lignes géométriques ne rendent pas les gens aimables » (« geometrical lines do not produce likeable people »). From pas japonais positioned like mine fields, to impossible-to-sit-on furniture, to a kitchen with the decibel level of a jet engine, every facet of Villa Arpel emphasizes the supremacy of superficial aesthetics and electrical gadgets over the reality of daily living. (source: wikipedia)
And Mr. Hulot’s building for the contrast! :
I was about to write some lines about this movie and how genious Tati was about design but right here, I saw Larry Weinberg’s great review about it, i definetly couldn’t express it better!