Our Paris studio: Over 20 years’ experience of designing innovative and market-leading developments for the French property market

Le studio parisien de CHAPMAN TAYLOR : plus de 20 ans d'expérience dans la conception de projets innovants sur le marché immobilier français

Chapman Taylor’s Paris studio has more than 20 years’ experience of designing innovative and market-leading developments for the French property market and elsewhere, in sectors ranging from retail and leisure to office and transport. We talk to Director Nicolas Guillot about Chapman Taylor’s extensive experience, asking how Chapman Taylor continues to distinguish itself in a competitive industry.

 

 

When was Chapman Taylor’s Paris studio established?

The studio was set up in 2002, though we worked in the French market from London since 1996. Our first big French project was the Val d’Europe development near Disneyland Paris, but we did that from London. When our work in France began to increase, it was decided to establish a permanent presence in Paris.

 

We have worked on many mixed-use and town centre developments – the first one was in Annecy – and we have a lot of experience in creating urban retail environments, with a particular talent for refurbishing listed buildings.

We currently have between 15 and 18 people working at the studio at any given time.

 

How has the French market changed since the studio opened?

There have been many changes in the retail sector, particularly over the last 15 years or so. Standalone shopping centres are now being replaced by mixed-use developments where the retail element is complemented by residential, office, leisure and other uses. Some activities are being brought back into the town centres from the edge of town. Also, of course, competition from the internet is transforming the retail market, and retailers are having to adapt their business models very quickly. Each development context is different, and we have to tailor what we design to those specific circumstances.

 

How do you liaise with Chapman Taylor’s Brussels studio?

For about five years, we have been working with the Brussels studio in a mutually beneficial way, particularly in relation to one of our major clients, LSGI, a French company with which the Belgian studio has a very good relationship. We currently share work on a major shopping centre refurbishment project at Evry, near Paris, for that client, with the Paris studio focusing on working with the local authority in designing the public areas around the development. The sharing of responsibility between the Brussels and Paris studios has been very successful for that client, and we look to work closely on more projects in the future.

 

Tell us about some current projects the studio is working on

We just finished a new type of retail development at Amiens for Frey Group, called Shopping Promenade Coeur Picardie, which has been very successful. We are currently creating another development, Shopping Promenade Claye-Souilly, near Paris for them using similar principles in a stronger way, with a different mix for the different context. For the Amiens development, we were creating a transition between the old edge-of-town retail park model and the new concept, but here we are going much further, creating a new type of retail development for France. The new concept includes a substantial leisure and F&B component, and we believe that it will be a very interesting addition to the French retail scene when it opens in September 2019.

 

Another project is small (less than 3,000 m²) but quite interesting, involving a prestigious building called Cour Bareuzai in Dijon. It’s a retail and F&B development within a listed former mansion house in the heart of the historical district of Dijon, part of which was built in the sixteenth century. We are very proud of this project, and have had very good feedback from people in the city.

 

We have been involved in a number of motorway service station designs also, which includes an element of retail but is largely about creating a functional service environment. We have partnered with a large French motorway services company, Elior, designing eight sites in the last decade after winning competitive bid processes. All but one have been completed, with the last one, at Orleans, currently under construction on site.

 

How is Chapman Taylor positioned in the French market?

We are very well known in the French retail sector, having been present in the market for two decades now. We have a strong reputation for design and innovation, and the Amiens project is a very good example of that. However, the retail sector is facing difficult times in France, as it is everywhere else in western Europe, so we are developing a focus on the residential and office sectors as well.

 

We are competing with companies from around the world. One of our big advantages is that we are simultaneously local and international. We are an international company, yet we are very much a Paris studio, and that is a very positive aspect of who we are.

 

There is a state-funded  new metro ring line  being built at present around Paris, with an investment of billions of Euros in advance of the 2024 Olympic Games. There will be a lot of investment in infrastructure, and, therefore, a lot of property investment too. In order to position ourselves well, we need to be able to show that we are talented and innovative designers who can produce something special.

 

Tell us about the Paris studio lab

We felt that we needed to develop an in-house lab to show potential clients the extent of our research and understanding of cutting-edge developments in the real estate market. The aim is to show them our creativity and innovation, helping us to differentiate ourselves in a very competitive market. Though the lab is led by our feasibility team, we try to involve everyone in the office in the work, and we hold informal meetings once or twice a month where everyone can exchange ideas.

 

The lab is where we ask questions about housing, workplaces, mixed-use developments or transportation, for example on how the end-user will experience a particular building scheme. We aim to produce a case study design every month or two which must produce an innovative solution to the question being asked, yet be realistic and commercially applicable. We then produce newsletters which we circulate to clients and others talking about our findings and lessons we draw from them. We think it is a good way to showcase Chapman Taylor’s creative talent while providing the team with motivation.

 

What do you foresee for Chapman Taylor in France?

I think the main challenge will to be to diversify, so that we are as well known for residential and office design as we currently are for retail. The future will be mixed-use, with few developments not having at least two or three different component uses. Standalone retail is about to become a thing of the past, and so it is healthy to be able to design beyond the retail.

 

Transportation is a sector in which we are very interested, particularly airports (outside Paris – Charles de Gaulle Airport has its own in-house architectural team). Many French airports have been privatised over the past ten years, with big developments taking place at airports in places like Nice, Toulouse, Lyon and Bordeaux. With Chapman Taylor’s expertise, we are well placed to become involved in this thriving sector.

Le studio parisien de Chapman Taylor a plus de 20 ans d’expérience dans la conception de projets innovants sur le marché immobilier français, dans des secteurs allant du commerce et des loisirs aux bureaux et transports.

Nicolas Guillot directeur du studio présente l’expérience de Chapman Taylor et ses atouts pour se distinguer dans un secteur si concurrentiel.

Quand le studio parisien de Chapman Taylor a-t-il été créé ?

Le studio a été créé en 2002, alors que nous avons commencé à travailler sur le marché français depuis les années 90. Notre premier grand projet français a été le développement de Val d’Europe près de Disneyland Paris.

Depuis lors, nous avons développé de nombreux projets à usage mixte en cœur de ville, à Annecy, puis Strasbourg, Besançon, Toulouse…Nous avons une grande expérience dans la création d'environnements urbains vivants, avec une expertise particulière pour la reconversion de bâtiments historiques.

Forte aujourd’hui d’une quinzaine d’architectes, notre équipe parisienne est en grande majorité constituée de collaborateurs fidèles à Chapman Taylor de longue date et qui apportent le véritable « savoir-faire » de notre studio.

How has the French market changed since the studio opened?

There have been many changes in the retail sector, particularly over the last 15 years or so. Standalone shopping centres are now being replaced by mixed-use developments where the retail element is complemented by residential, office, leisure and other uses. Some activities are being brought back into the town centres from the edge of town. Also, of course, competition from the internet is transforming the retail market, and retailers are having to adapt their business models very quickly. Each development context is different, and we have to tailor what we design to those specific circumstances.

How do you liaise with Chapman Taylor’s Brussels studio?

For about five years, we have been working with the Brussels studio in a mutually beneficial way, particularly in relation to one of our major clients, LSGI, a French company with which the Belgian studio has a very good relationship. We currently share work on a major shopping centre refurbishment project at Evry, near Paris, for that client, with the Paris studio focusing on working with the local authority in designing the public areas around the development. The sharing of responsibility between the Brussels and Paris studios has been very successful for that client, and we look to work closely on more projects in the future.

Comment le projet urbain en France a-t-il évolué depuis l'ouverture du studio?

Les projets multifonctionnels prennent désormais une place centrale dans la ville. Une nouvelle organisation urbaine émerge, en relation directe avec les bouleversements des modes de vie ; habiter, travailler, se distraire, consommer, se déplacer… Les objectifs de proximité, de polyvalence et de mixité, de multipolarité, de développement durable et même d’ubiquité demandent une approche urbaine nouvelle, plus fluide. Le cadre de vie se doit de trouver une relation plus harmonieuse à la nature, et retrouver diverses échelles intermédiaires dans la Ville, de l’humain à la métropole.

Passages Pasteur is a mixed-use urban regeneration project within an historic conservation of Besançon. Footfall is 20% higher than expected fter the first year trading.

Passages Pasteur à Besançon est un projet typique de régénération urbaine réussie, mixant commerces et logements, équipement et espace publics ; Il offre une nouvelle vie à des bâtiments historiques et ouvre largement l’îlot sur la ville.

Tell us about some current projects the studio is working on

We just finished a new type of retail development at Amiens for Frey Group, called Shopping Promenade Coeur Picardie, which has been very successful. We are currently creating another development, Shopping Promenade Claye-Souilly, near Paris for them using similar principles in a stronger way, with a different mix for the different context. For the Amiens development, we were creating a transition between the old edge-of-town retail park model and the new concept, but here we are going much further, creating a new type of retail development for France. The new concept includes a substantial leisure and F&B component, and we believe that it will be a very interesting addition to the French retail scene when it opens in September 2019.

Parlez-nous de quelques projets sur lesquels le studio travaille en ce moment.

Nous venons de livrer Cour Bareuzai, un projet modeste en surface (2500 m²) mais qui tient de la « haute couture ». Ce projet, réalisé en partie dans des bâtiments classés, ouvre un nouveau passage dans le cœur historique de Dijon. Il s’agit d’offrir de nouvelles surfaces de commerces et de restauration dans le Centre-Ville tout en mettant en valeur un patrimoine architectural de grande valeur et ignoré jusqu’à présent. Nos interventions contemporaines jouent la simplicité et la discrétion en reflétant les façades et les toitures du bâti ancien.

Nous terminons aussi l’étude d’un nouveau Shopping promenade pour le groupe Frey, en région parisienne, à Claye-Souilly, après le premier modèle du genre livré en 2017 à Amiens. Il s’agit avant tout de créer une atmosphère, un climat de bien-être pour le visiteur, avec un programme mêlant loisirs, promenade et commerces dans un environnement vivant et largement planté.

Another project is small (less than 3,000 m²) but quite interesting, involving a prestigious building called Cour Bareuzai in Dijon. It’s a retail and F&B development within a listed former mansion house in the heart of the historical district of Dijon, part of which was built in the sixteenth century. We are very proud of this project, and have had very good feedback from people in the city.

We have been involved in a number of motorway service station designs also, which include an element of retail. We have partnered with a large French motorway services company, Elior, designing eight sites in the last decade after winning a competitive bid processes. All but one have been completed, with the last one, at Orleans, currently under construction on site.

Nous travaillons aussi sur plusieurs projets aéroportuaires avec l’objectif de casser les codes habituels de ces lieux de passage et d’offrir une nouvelle expérience au voyageur.

Nous travaillons encore sur de grands développements urbains en Egypte, avec pour principale ambition de susciter la vie urbaine par une savante composition architecturale.

How is Chapman Taylor positioned in the French market?

We are very well known in the French retail sector, having been present in the market for two decades now. We have a strong reputation for design and innovation, and the Amiens project is a very good example of that. We also focus on the residential and office sectors as well.

We are competing with companies from around the world. One of our big advantages is that we are simultaneously local and international. We are an international company, yet we are very much a Paris studio, and that is a very positive aspect of who we are.

Comment Chapman Taylor se positionne-t-il sur le marché français ?

Nous sommes reconnus pour notre expertise urbaine et nos projets commerciaux, depuis maintenant deux décennies sur le marché de l’immobilier en France. Nous avons une solide réputation en matière de design et d'innovation, et le projet de Dijon en est un bon exemple. Nous travaillons également activement sur les secteurs résidentiels et de bureaux.

CHAPMAN TAYLOR est à la fois une agence internationale et locale. Le studio parisien travaille essentiellement pour le marché français, mais avec l’appui et l’expertise d’un grand groupe qui possède une expérience internationale inégalée.

Notre Lab est aussi un outil indispensable pour nous permettre de comprendre et d’anticiper les évolutions de la ville de demain.

Tell us about the Paris studio research lab

We felt that we needed to develop an in-house research lab to demonstrate to potential clients the extent of our understanding of cutting-edge developments in the real estate market. The aim is to show them our creativity and innovation, helping us to differentiate ourselves in a very competitive market. Though the lab is led by our feasibility team, we try to involve everyone in the office in the work, and we hold informal meetings once or twice a month where everyone can exchange ideas.

The lab is where we ask questions about housing, workplaces, mixed-use developments or transportation, for example on how the end-user will experience a particular building scheme. We aim to produce a case study design every month or two which must produce an innovative solution to the question being asked, yet be realistic and commercially applicable. We then produce newsletters which we circulate to clients and others talking about our findings and lessons we draw from them. We think it is a good way to showcase Chapman Taylor’s creative talent while providing the team with motivation.

Parlez-nous plus en détail du Lab

Il y a quelques années, nous avons décidé de développer un Lab, un groupe informel de réflexion et de prospective, au sein de notre équipe parisienne. Cette nouvelle approche, libérée des contraintes du quotidien, nous a permis de porter notre regard plus loin et d’anticiper les évolutions de la Ville et des besoins de ses habitants.

Le Lab est l'endroit où nous nous interrogeons sur les nouvelles attentes pour le logement, les lieux de travail, la mixité ou le transport, et où nous esquissons des propositions concrètes face aux défis à relever. Les aspects environnementaux, les évolutions technologiques, les modes de vie, le bien-être sont au cœur de nos réflexions. Ces recherches ont vocation à esquisser des solutions viables et rapidement applicables qui viendront enrichir nos projets dans un avenir proche. Bien que le Lab soit dirigé par notre équipe de faisabilité, nous souhaitons toujours impliquer l’ensemble de l’équipe du studio dans ces recherches et nous tenons des réunions informelles une ou deux fois par mois où chacun peut échanger des idées.

What do you foresee for Chapman Taylor in France?

The future of developments will be mixed-use, an area where Chapman Taylor has considerable experience. Standalone retail is about to become a thing of the past, and so it is healthy to be able to design beyond the retail.

Our Transportation work will increase.  Many French airports have been privatised over the past ten years, with big developments taking place at airports in places like Nice, Toulouse, Lyon and Bordeaux. With Chapman Taylor’s expertise and connections, we will expand into this thriving sector.

Comment voyez-vous l’avenir du studio parisien de Chapman Taylor ?

La crise sanitaire en cours met brusquement en pleine lumière des évolutions, voire les révolutions qui s’esquissaient déjà depuis plusieurs années ; par exemple, le télétravail, les nouveaux habitats, les évolutions du commerce, des loisirs, du tourisme, la mixité, les modes de transport, tout cela dans un cadre de moins en moins cloisonné.

Ces périodes charnières sont très clairement des moments d’incertitude et d’instabilité, mais elles offrent surtout de formidables opportunités pour imaginer la ville de demain et proposer de nouvelles voies au service du bien-être de tous.

Avec son expérience, son pragmatisme et sa capacité d’innovation, Chapman Taylor nous semble idéalement placé pour répondre à ces enjeux.

C’est un défi passionnant auquel notre studio compte participer pleinement !

Nicolas Guillot (Dip Arch DESA Registered architect ‘Ordre des architectes Ile de France’)

董事, 巴黎

Nicolas joined Chapman Taylor in London in 1998. He relocated to Paris in 2001 and is now the Director responsible for the general management and development of our Paris studio. 

With extensive design experience leading various projects from conception through to delivery Nicolas has managed large-scale projects across various sectors in both France and internationally.

Areas of expertise:

Retail / Masterplanning

Fort d'une longue expérience en architecture à la tête de divers développements de la conception à la livraison, Nicolas a géré des projets d'envergure dans divers secteurs en France et à l'international.

Nicolas a rejoint Chapman Taylor à Londres en 1998. Il a rejoint la France en 2001 pour prendre la direction et le développement du studio parisien.

Domaine d’expertise:

Master planning / Bureaux / Logement / Commerce

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