• NRuskell

Mona Residence: Monaco's most eco and exclusive high-rise residence

Updated: Nov 15, 2021

Standing on the gorgeously curved balcony on the 21st floor of Monaco’s newest high-rise tower, overlooking Larvotto beach and the glistening Mediterranean… this is as luxury as it gets.

23 floors of ultimate luxury. Photo: T. Aparru

Mona Residence is the newest luxury residential tower in the richest principality in the world—and it is not only the hottest new address, but it’s also the coolest new example of eco-sustainable construction, low carbon footprint and passive heating and cooling.

Who says luxury and energy conservation are mutually exclusive?

The Group Michel Pastor, part of the century-old construction dynasty of the principality, began planning this luxury high-rise back in 2012 – but they wanted to push the limits and challenge themselves to build a state-of-the-art housing facility that utilises what nature gives, protects against the elements and still provides the lifestyle that the world’s UHNWI expect.

The list of signatures on this high-rise tower is a roster of who’s who in the architecture, art and design worlds and if a building could be considered haute-couture, this would be it. Internationally renowned architects Jean-Michel Wilmotte and Rainier Boisson have taken care of the flower-shaped design, designer Ora Ïto has made clean and natural spaces that leave the stunning views the focal point; artist Daniel Buren has made a geometric and visually stunning entrance and landscape gardener Jean Mus has picked the most native, eco-sustainable and beautiful plants to accent the outdoor spaces.

Photos: T. Apparu

Riviera Insider had an exclusive invitation inside the new high-rise. But before we were wowed by the sexy 21st-floor balcony views, our visit started in the basement, where the true star of the building lives: the high-tech system of 40 steel pipes and pumps that make up the geothermal heating and cooling system.

It took the Pastor Group five years of research, tinkering, test drilling and calculations to be sure that a Geothermal air conditioning system would be feasible. In 2017, construction work began and now, only four years later, Mona Residence welcomed its first residents in September.

"MoNa Résidence is currently the most environmentally friendly building in all of Monaco." -Serge Ginesy

Designed to passively keep a constant, comfortable temperature throughout the entire building year-round, the pipes are drilled down 250 metres into the bedrock below, circulating water through the ambient temperature of the subsoil. The result? A constant temperature range of 20 – 24 degrees Celsius in all areas of the building. The additional solar panels on the roof provide hot water to the tenants.

The intricate system of tubes and pipes of the geothermal heating and cooling system. Photo: T. Apparu

Geothermal heating and cooling systems have been around for a while, but it is incredibly rare to have such an extensive and elaborate system for a single residential complex – not to mention in such a rocky, densely populated area. But several years of research and testing proved that the Saint-Romain district site was perfectly suited to be their next feat of green building.

"MoNa Résidence is currently the most environmentally friendly building in all of Monaco," says Serge Ginesy, head of sustainable development within the Pastor Group. It is the only building in the Principality that uses geothermal energy on this scale and has a significantly better CO2 balance than classic buildings.

It's all in the details….

Many little things add up to an all-around sustainable concept. Inside the apartments, natural materials were used wherever possible: marble and wood from certified forestry can be found in the entrance hall and corridors as well as in all flats. The steel used is 95 per cent recycled, and the high-quality appliances in the kitchens have the very best energy ratings. LED lights are installed throughout and waste and recycling rooms are located on each floor, including compost, which is taken regularly by staff.

All parking spaces in the underground garage allow for charging electric cars, 90 bicycle parking spaces are available, and the plants in the hanging gardens and on the roof terraces are selected for their frugality in terms of water consumption.

A view from the top

Incredibly impressed and slightly overwhelmed by our tour of the geothermal system, we left the massive rooms of pipes, pumps and tanks to head up to the top. 23 floors of amazing eco-sustainable construction were above us and it was time to discover a penthouse. Starting with the eco-certified wood panelling in the lift, we effortlessly rose 21 floors to visit one of the few remaining 2-storey penthouse units.

The lift opened into the most stunning view. Wood panelling disguising closet space, brass door elements, bright white marble floors reflecting the piercing sun from the floor to ceiling windows looking over the Monaco seafront. Taken out onto the elegantly curved balcony, we were awe-struck at the beauty, the view and an overwhelming sense of calm and happiness. This. This is what the pinnacle of living is all about!

Keeping the sun at bay

Despite spending five years researching and test-drilling the geothermal system hundreds of metres below ground, engineers faced a more formidable opponent to their eco-cooling: The Côte d'Azur sun.

"The biggest challenge," says sustainability officer Ginesy, "was keeping the sun at bay in the summer months." That's where the architecture came in: the generous balconies that completely encircle the three-wing building are not only for visual appeal—they set the residence back, providing shade to the units below. At the same time, it never gets too dark inside thanks to the huge window fronts made of maximum insulating and UV-blocking glass. And ceiling-high sunshade elements on the balcony not only provide a visual accent but are installed on tracks to slide according to the position of the sun, making an instantly notable difference in temperature.

The interplay of all components has earned the high-rise an "Excellent" rating for its design from the recognised BREEAM environmental label. And for the residents, it’s not only economical but also educational and fun. The so-called “High Performance” appliances are all connected and controlled by an iPad, where they can control the power, the timing, the lights, the temperature and also watch the consumption or amount savings. This is a clever way to involve the residents in conservation when they may otherwise set a temperature and forget about it.

24-hour concierge service

Clearly, any luxury residence will have amenities but in Monaco, the competition is steep! Mona Residence goes over and above, offering more than your typical 5-star hotel. Aside from its excellent location across from Larvotto beach, amenities abound with a fitness centre, library, pool (in addition to the private pools on the penthouse terraces), and a cinema. But it wouldn’t be luxury without the full-service concierge. From housekeeping to dinner reservations, child-care, helicopter flights, or whatever else you may need for a day out in Monaco, it’s all available with a single phone call.

Gorgeous views, highest energy efficiency, beautiful surroundings, top concierge service… where do we sign??

From single flats to a penthouse with six bedrooms plus office and living room on two floors and a roof terrace, there are options for all family sizes. Prices are kept on the down-low, but if you are interested in snagging one of the last units available, contact Group Michel Pastor for information.

-Nicole Ruskell

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