Global architecture agency, Outsign, talks to Architect??s Choice about its latest project
Built in 1976 and perfectly integrated into the day-to-day life of the thirteenth district of Paris, Italie Deux attracts around 14 million visitors a year due to the wide range of products on offer through its 130 stores. After 14 months of renovation, Italie Deux has revealed its new offering of ??Lounge Shopping??, embodied by a new visual work of interior design.
Spaces and services were completely rethought to bring in new consumption trends and to offer the ultimate shopping experience. Typical of the holistic approach of Outsign, the metamorphosis of Italie Deux is guided by the affirmation of its Parisian character. Outsign has given Italie Deux back to Paris, originally a commercial centre it now becomes a real brand: Parisian, artistic and friendly.
An exciting feature of the newly renovated centre is Outsign??s use of art, installed in the public urban space. Eight artists or groups of artists of international reknown joined the team and their know how, technical ingenuity and creative imagination were incorporated into various spaces within the project.
Artists featured throughout the centre include Julie Marabelle, a set and costume designer for the BBC, Maryse Dugois, a paper artist who uses silk to create sophisticated sculptures and Duy Anh Nhan Duc, a vegetable sculptor whose interesting creations are featured throughout.
Office of Graphic and Multimedia development Trafik also created an interesting artistic element for the centre. Its Wall of Fame feature is an interactive image recording device which permits to realise the visitors own portrait, converted into a myriad of stars. Each month 500 people contribute to enrich the ever growing portrait gallery.
The centrepiece of Italie Deux was the brainchild of Outsign themselves, and with the help of the glass factories of Bréhat, the monumental tamagotchi chandelier was created which now lives in the atrium of the centre. Just like the Eiffel Tower the structure is brought to life by lighting, scheduled by Trafik, with bright sequences every several minutes, at fixed hours.
Here we speak to Outsign about its design process and the project:
How and when did Outsign first become involved with Italie Deux? Were you approached directly or did you have to pitch out ideas?
Outsign became involved with Italie Deux in 2009. Outsign answered to the call for tenders of the property developer Hammerson for the renovation of the shopping mall. We proposed an ‘arty Lounge Shopping’ positioning and overcame the competition.
What was the end goal when it came to the renovation? Was there a project brief or were you allowed to be completely creative?
Italie Deux can generate a turnover of 350 million and welcomes 14 million annual visitors, however it remained an amorphous shopping mall with an almost stressful experience. The gallery therefore received a facelift and, since last summer, asserts loud and clear its status of Parisian shopping mall. The aim was to lead to its term the repositioning of the center. The final touch was the installation of the artistic course, which strengthens the floral, feminine and shopping inspiration of the renovation. Hammerson gave us great freedom of creation, as well for the refitting of the center and for its new visual identity, as for the elaboration of the artistic course.
Has Outsign worked with the artists involved before? Or were you approached just for this renovation?
Contemporary art is at the heart of Outsign thinking. The agency works closely with artist Loris Greaud and realises large-scale projects in prestigious locations in major capital cities. Passion for contemporary art and know how are applied to exhibitions taking place in international places of reference such as the Pinault Foundation or at the very heart of the Palazzo Grassi or the Punta della Dogana in Italy. Outsign brings life to contemporary art, produces hybrid polysensorial experiences and engages a cultural and social dialogue with visitors. The choice of the artists involved in the project was guided with the aim to get as many disciplines as possible. We concentrated on creative young artists who devote their activity to the French luxury universe and bring a sober and qualitative added value to the project. It was our first collaboration with them all, but we have already involved Trafik in a new architectural project.
Do you think that the type of visitor to Italie Deux will change i.e more on trend, fashion and art led tourists opposed to the general shopper?
Our goal is to bring art within the reach of the average visitor, the one who does not necessarily dare to push the door of the galleries and museums.
Are there any plans for future renovations? Will the artists involved be changed for new ones in the future to keep Italie Deux fresh and on trend?
Hammerson purchased the art works installed in the centre. For budgetary reasons, there are no immediate plans that we are aware of that would propose to replace them with new ones.