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Shangri-La Hotel Paris, Paris, France

Friday 29 Apr 2011

Re-use: a way for creative design

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Richard Martinet Architect/ Affine Design use the process of restoration and interpretation to create the luxurious Shangri-La Paris Hotel 

There are almost 88 Shangri-La Hotels built or in process of being built worldwide. The Shangri-La Paris Hotel is considered by the chairman as the ultimate luxurious Shangri-La Hotel. This was probably due to the nature of the property, a historical residence of Prince Roland Bonaparte, and the project, 81 keys for 18 600 sqm. The chairman, deeply in love with Paris, wanted to have a Paris private "Hôtel Particulier", therefore the Hotel looks more like a private exclusive residence than a 5 star Hotel. The existing building was inspired by the "eclectic" period of 1890. The interiors were done in reference to the French 18th century with some elements borrowed to the late 19th century; Affine design have carefully restored some of these decors such as the salons, ladies drawing rooms and the waiting room.

The construction itself was inspired by French rationalism which includes steel structure, stone decorated facades. Affine design felt committed to restore any part of the building saved, and all extensions have been developed in respect to the building. Side facades on the garden were treated as extensions of the existing with same stone sculptures and decors. Even the contemporary transparent steel and glass roof building, the most exciting panoramic Suite overlooking the Seine river, is treated in a complete contemporary architecture that matches the creative architectural design of the building in 1895. The metal structure above the coffee shop, former hidden suspension for an auditorium ceiling, has been re-schemed as a winter-garden glass roof.

There are few references to local cities in other Shangri-La Hotels. The creative challenge for the Paris Hotel was to keep an obvious link with the original historical building and its historical context ,Paris 1895, exposition universelle, but also to create a new scenery for a 21st century luxury hotel. The building has now become the Shangri-La Hotel and belongs to another family, coming from another part of the world, with its own culture and traditions. Establishing a harmonious and continuous link between these extremes prepares the palace for welcoming its future guests. Colours are natural using limestone, limestone stuccos, bronze and gold. Atmosphere is confidential like a private residence; unique entrance "passage cocher" made from stone paving and a guard house, with a typical metal/glass canopy. Delicate landscape and garden design by Louis Benech.

The message for Shangri-La Paris is: re-use is a way for creative design. In the process of restoration stands the potential of creation for new schemes, new way of living the architecture. All is based on the principle that any restoration is an interpretation. In any interpretation ,whatever the subject, architecture, theatre, stands a new creative project.

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affine design

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