Institut Francais, South Kensington, London

M. Patrice Bonnet
Date Built
17 Queensberry Place
Number 17 Queensberry Way is part of a complex of buildings on a site in South Kensington that are home to the Institut fran├žais du Royaume-Uni, founded in 1910.  The institute offers a language centre, a multi-media library, a cinema, and a French bistro. The Institute says that, "At the heart of (our) mission is the teaching of the French language. The language centre, which attracts 7000 students every year, offers traditional language courses as well as business French and courses on various aspects of French culture and current affairs."

Number 17 is a Grade II Listed Art Deco building designed by M. Patrice Bonnet, the architect-in-chief to the French Government and architect-conservateur of the Palaces of Versailles and the Trianon.  The building is constructed of red brick and cream faience with complex three-dimensional geometric designs in the brickwork.  The ceramics that decorate the facade were made in France and sent to London to be put in place.  At the top of the building on Queensberry Way are, ".... the graces of Minerva, the Goddess of Intelligence: the owl, the asp, the cockerel and the branch of Olive-wood symbolizing wisdom, knowledge, courage and peace."

The Institute's name is displayed in ceramic letters above a row of first floor windows that are separated by ceramic columns with a woven design.