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Colourful Street Art Pops Up at Galeries Lafayette in Nice

Updated: Apr 16, 2021

During a time of toughening Covid restrictions, a new splash of colour has been added to the already rich Place Masséna in Nice.

Photo by Kimberley Mannion

Graffiti and Galeries Lafayette are not normally used in the same sentence, nor are they often associated with one another. But the department store on Avenue Jean Médecin has hired Whole Street, a French Riviera based street art group to liven up the arches outside their iconic store.

The artwork, painted by Brian Caddy, César Malfi and Otom (Thomas Débatisse) will remain in place from 17th February to 21st March.

A smiling portrait of the Nicois chef, Alex Gepetto, is a large feature of one arch. A reminder of normal times when we could go out with friends to enjoy a delicious meal, and what we have to look forward to. The columns supporting the arches portray an array of beautiful colours, guaranteed to lift the mood and spell the words ‘happy galeries’.

The bright colours and happy designs hope to assist Galeries Lafayette in countering gloomy times with as much positivity as possible, to go along with the launch of their Spring/Summer collection, Otom told Nice Matin.

Photo by Kimberley Mannion

Whole Street was founded in 2015 by the Nicois street artists with the mission of changing perceptions of graffiti on the French Riviera. Conversations began with authorities of the Nice Côte d’Azur Metropole to make street art accessible to everyone, and to change the attitudes towards it which in the past may have been negative.

Galeries Lafayette is just the group’s latest project - over the last few years events have been carried out in schools to introduce young people to the art form, as well as the ‘Tram Session’ on the second line of Nice’s tramway.

The high profile location of this latest work shows their aims are clearly being achieved, with graffiti moving out of cultural shadows and appreciated as legitimate art. The partnership is an important moment for street artists on the Riviera and the acknowledgement of their talent.

99% of people are positive and they have been stopped in the street to say how great it is, according to Otom in Nice Matin.

With art galleries closed and many aspects of cultural life cancelled for the best part of a year, street art is a pandemic-friendly way for everyone to enjoy art.

Head to Avenue Jean Médecin before it’s gone to see the dazzling mix of colours and patterns (you can’t miss it, literally) - it is bound to brighten your day!

-Kimberley Mannion

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