The idea for an ambitious, large-scale museum dedicated to Charlie Chaplin and his life’s work came about in the year 2000, when Swiss architect Philippe Meylan and Quebecois curator, film buff and Chaplin aficionado Yves Durand first met. The project was brought to life by a dedicated group, made up of business people, artists and key local players, as well as teams of architects, engineers and designers, working together with the Chaplin Foundation.
Chaplin’s World is the product of ten years of work: market and feasibility studies, site renovation, and scenic design, as well as consultation and co-operation with Swiss authorities and stakeholders. This unique project brought together financial and institutional partners such as the Canton of Vaud, local authorities, cultural and tourist organisations, and businesses on the Swiss Riviera.
A project with solid foundations
Chaplin’s World is now established as an exemplary cultural, touristic and economic project in the region, through the support of the following bodies: The Chaplin Museum Foundation, The Chaplin Office (the artist's legal heirs), Roy Export Company Establishment and Bubbles Incorporated SA (holders of the rights associated with Chaplin’s image and likeness), and Chaplin Museum Development and Nestlé Switzerland (the project’s development sponsor).
It also received the support of the Canton de Vaud, with the extension of an economic development loan of CHF10m (€8.2m), which is backed by ten neighbouring municipalities. Their commitment demonstrates the project’s economic, cultural and touristic significance.
A pivotal meeting
The project picked up pace in 2008 when the Luxembourg-based capital investment, asset management and financial advice company Genii Capital came on board, bringing its expertise and the financial support necessary to get the project off the ground.
In 2011, the project’s developers, under the umbrella of Chaplin Museum Development, approached a key player in the European leisure industry, Compagnie des Alpes (CDA), renowned for their expertise in managing and operating museums and amusement parks all over the world. In the same year, they also approached Grévin, for its artistic and scenic designs.
All of these stakeholders shared the ambition of bringing to life the priceless cultural and cinematic legacy of Charlie Chaplin, and contributing to the touristic and cultural appeal of the Swiss Riviera by creating a truly unique site for culture and entertainment.
A partnership agreement was signed on January 31st, 2014, between Compagnie des Alpes and Domaine du Manoir de Ban (Genii Capital and Chaplin Museum Development - CMD) for the purpose of launching the Chaplin’s World Museum.
Creating an exceptional site
It took more than two years of construction work to bring back the Manoir de Ban and its magnificent park to their former glory. The conservation and restoration of this authentic private home was a key motivating factor for all parties involved in this project. More than 200 builders, workers and craftsmen laboured industriously to complete the renovation. They encountered significant architectural and integration challenges during the various stages of the project: the renovation and transformation of the Manoir de Ban and its annexes, the construction of a new building of Hollywood proportions, the development of a car park (cleverly hidden between the garden and the forest), and the park’s landscaping.
Bringing together culture and entertainment
Chaplin’s World By Grévin is a great example of what Grévin is capable of: creating a unique design, bringing together culture and entertainment. Their playful and innovative scenic design allows for an immersive exploration of Chaplin’s life and work.
More than 30 wax figures created by Grévin decorate Chaplin’s World: the Tramp, Oona and Chaplin, politicians like Gandhi and Churchill, artists who crossed paths with Chaplin, like Paulette Godard, Buster Keaton and Sophia Loren, and others who were inspired by Chaplin’s cinematic work or his iconic character, like Roberto Benigni, Federico Fellini and Michael Jackson.