The exhibition “Hotel Metropolis – Since 1818” illustrates the history of this form of architecture since its emergence, depicts the current state of Paris’s hotels, and explores new perspectives of these institutions in light of the environmental challenges we have begun to face. As the first exhibition devoted to the Parisian hotel, the Pavillon de l’Arsenal seeks to define this architecture, at once familiar and unknown. Throughout the exhibition, a question emerges: how can we build for future economic, cultural, and social challenges? From an innovative past and a future being built to imaginative and speculative prototypes, we highlight here the three timeframes of the exhibition.
The Hotel Reimagined: Prototypes by Four Multidisciplinary Teams
Un Voyage, Pas Une Destination (A Voyage, not a Destination)
By Nicolas Dorval-Bory Architectes + VORBOT (Sammy Vormus, and Clément Talbot)
While exterior porousness and bioclimatic issues, in general, represent exciting challenges for hotels in the coming years, we must acknowledge the need to envisage these spaces as requiring artificial climates. Based on this presumption, the hallway is considered as a dual mechanism, irrigating the rooms with its technical systems to guarantee proper climate control, while granting access to users at the same time. In this dual-flow system, the hallway is a vector, or rather, a journey, not a destination.1
Hotels have a dual environmental impact as consumers of energy and producers of CO2 equivalents as well as an artificial space for circulation whose lighting and temperature influence our wellbeing. By focusing on the hallway as a space, the project responds literally to two necessarily linked environmental concerns: sustainability and health.
The first is addressed through the construction materials and processes. While accepting the need and visibility of a number of technical fluids networks in the hallways, Nicolas Dorval-Bory Architectes and VORBOT have sought a way to limit the carbon footprint of these conduits, most of which are made of metal. Therefore, to design and build almost all the elements present in the hallway space, they used wood, a renewable material with an excellent carbon footprint. They reconsidered all these components in terms of their structural and thermic properties to generate a new aesthetic based on the changes in the Anthropocene paradigm.
The second aspect is tied to lighting comfort in the hallways, which has traditionally been designed in linear meters. The usual lighting system involves including and replicating a lighting source within this standard meter measure, like an LED strip to be unfurled. But natural lighting, which we need, which guides us in our movements and punctuates our circadian rhythms, is always much richer. It is directional, omnipresent, varying in its intensity and temperature. It is by nature environmental and geographical. Therefore, Dorval-Bory and VORBOT have proposed replacing duplication and repetition with polarized lighting environments. Along the hallway, two overly lit alcoves with a variable spectral distribution ranging from 2700 K to 6500 K render some spaces very well lit and others, slightly darker. This variation in light dispels the usual bleary uniformity and anonymity of traditional lighting mechanisms. From cooler to warmer, it allows for a true diversity of uses, and it forms a genuine interior landscape. Wherever people go within the hotel, they will orient themselves as if guided by the sun, the moon, or the stars.
1 “To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive.” Robert Louis Stevenson, Virginibus Puerisque, 1881.
La marquise comme symbole dans l’espace avant que forme dans l’espace (The Marquee as Symbole in Space Before Form in Space)
By Jean-Benoît Vétillard
Vétillard reinterprets hotel marquees using a plant-fiber canopy. As a contextual, formal, and stylistic object, the marquee shapes a place of transition and exchange between the dynamic life of the city and the more subdued ecosystem of the lobby. Vétillard transforms this scenographic space through the use of flax fiber and natural resin as well as a dynamo system that powers the LED lights. The intensity of the lights changes with each push of the revolving door, creating a symbolic and breathing territory between the inside and the outside.
Installation view of La marquise comme symbole dans l’espace avant que forme dans l’espace (The Marquee as a Symbol Space before Form Space) by Jean-Benoît Vétillard Ph. © Salem Mostefaoui
Une pièce capable. L’archéologie de la chambre (A Capable Piece. The archeology of the room)
By Lina Ghotmeh – Architecture (Lina Ghotmeh, Anna Checchi, Diana Bou Salman, Léa Kayruz, Federico Mannino), with the support of Biofib
A Capable Piece by Lina Ghotmeh – Architecture explores new potential uses of a hotel room that condense all functions—offices, fitness centers, workspaces, recording studios, and sleep and hygiene needs—into an “App Wall.” As trends such as co-working spaces change our way of working and communicating, common spaces adapt while hotel rooms remain largely the same. The project addresses this lack, exploring a similar hybridity directly within the privacy of the room. The soundproof walls are made of wood coated with natural fibers and hide functions and elements on demand. The room assembles quickly and is reuse-ready: it is carbon-free, adaptable, and cleans easily.
Une Pièce Capable. L’Archéologie de la Chambre (A Capable Piece. The Archeology of the Room)
Lina Ghotmeh – Architecture (Lina Ghotmeh, Anna Checchi, Diana Bou Salman, Léa Kayruz, Federico Mannino), with the support of Biofib Ph. © Salem Mostefaoui
Une chambre pour demain (A Room for Tomorrow)
By ciguë + Le Sommer Environnement + Vuna + Aquatiris + TBI
Keeping in mind that a hotel customer uses an average of 300 liters per day, the architects and builders of the studio Ciguë have constructed an environmentally virtuous bathroom with reused materials that dramatically consume less water. The ceiling reveals the tanks of the feedback loop system, including one for collecting water and one for storing water that is filtered by a tank that adjoins it. Waste is collected and converted into fertilizer and biomass. Exposing the systems that are usually hidden, the project is a starting point for reflecting on the way we live and the waste we produce.
Installation view Une chambre pour demain (A Room for Tomorrow) by
ciguë + Le Sommer Environnement + Vuna + Aquatiris + TBIPh. © Salem Mostefaoui
A Brief Historical AnalysisOverseen by Catherine Sabbah and Olivier Namias, with the support of studies conducted by the engineers at S2T and the architects at ON CITIES
From the Haussmann era in the late 1800s and the Art Deco of the 1930s to the international style and the need for fast and inexpensive options, the Parisian Hotel has explored and adapted to various architectural languages.
Between 1862 and 1898, the city saw a trend of hotels built near to train stations that are remarkable for their incorporation of the technical innovations of the age such as escalators. An example can be seen in how the The Grand Hotel, designed by Alfred Armand, Jacques Ignace Hittorff, Charles Rohault De Fleury, and Henry Dubois, was updated in 1874 with two elevators.
From 1898 to 1914 a series of hotels were built that took into account a need for modern comforts such as running hot water. After the First World War, the art deco style took hold. This contemporary style was exemplified in Le Bristol Paris designed by the architects Gustave Umbdenstock and Urbain Cassan and built in 1925.
From 1950 to 1974 the values of the American way of life were present and tourism was in full force, creating a need for standardized hotels such as the Novotel. The 1990s was marked by the creation of the Euro Disney hotel complex. With more than 5000 rooms designed in a postmodern style, the masterplan was developed by iconic architects including Michael Graves, Robert Stern, Frank Gehry, Stanley Tigerman, Robert Venturi, and Antoine Grumbach.
New Projects throughout Le Grand Paris
Ahead of the 2024 Summer Olympics, Paris is reinventing its hotel architecture. From family rooms to capsule beds, dormitories, XXL suites, inhabited rooftops, landscaped courtyards, and multi-purpose lobbies, more than 150 projects for every preference and budget are currently being planned or built. The Paris region has 2,450 hotels that offer more than 150,000 rooms. In 2018, these facilities managed 52 million occupancies, a trend that continues to rise and which does not seem to be affected by new actors such as apartment rental platforms. Regardless of their urban morphology and scale, these new projects cannot escape the programmatic mix of the contemporary city: they reside above and beside offices, housing, shops, sports, and leisure facilities, incorporating their services into the fabric of city life. Despite this growth, the question remains: what exactly is a hotel today?
1Hotel and Slo living Hostel
PROGRAM: 140 rooms / ARCHITECTS: Kengo Kuma & Associates, architectes (1Hotel) ; Marchi Architectes, architectes (Slo living Hostel) / STATUS: In progress (2022) / DEVELOPER: Semapa / PROJECT MANAGEMENT: Compagnie de Phalsbourg / IMAGES: © MIR + Luxigon / ADDRESS: 175, avenue de france, 75013
PROGRAM: 68 rooms, Restaurant, Bar, Fitness Space, Lounge Room / STATUS: In progress (March 2022) / PROJECT MANAGEMENT: NP2F / TEAM: NP2F, EVP, SINTEO, VPEAS / CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT: SOGEPROM / ADDRESS: 8-10 rue armand Carrel 75019 Paris
PROGRAM: 4 star hotel, 73 rooms, Co-working space, Heath Space, Fitness Room, Restuarant, Conference Room / STATUS: In progress (2020) / PROJECT MANAGER: TRIPTYQUE ARCHITECTURE / TEAM: Philippe STARCK (Interior Architecture), COLOCO (Landscape Architecture) / CONSTRUCTION MANAGER: VILLA M – GPM / ADDRESS: 24-30 Boulevard Pasteur 75015 Paris
DATE : October 16, 2019 to January 12, 2020 / INVITED COMMISIONAIRES: Catherine Sabbah and Olivier Namias / PRESIDENT: Afaf Gabelotaud / GENERAL COMMISIONAIRES: Pavillon de l’Arsenal, Alexandre Labasse (Architect, General Director), Marianne Carrega (Architect, General Deputy Director), Julien Pansu (Architect, Communication, Multimediaa, and Public Development Director), with Léa Mabille and Estelle Petit, Kim Lê (Architect, in charge of exhibitions), Jean-Sébastien Lebreton (Architect, in charge of production with Fernande Njonkou Njanjo, Sophie Civita, Valentine Machet), Antonella Casellato (Head of Documentation Center), with Léa Baudat and Manon Sauvage, / DESIGN CONCEPT: Sylvain Enguehard / EDITORIAL SECRETARY: Julie Houis / TRANSLATIONS: Claudio Cambon / PRODUCTION: Artcomposit (Signage and hanging), BSMD Avant-Garde (Printing), Atelier Cédric Desrez (Framing), Sacré Bonus (Silkscreens), Couleur & Communication (Transfers), Magnum (Audiovisual Installations), Année Zéro (Slideshow), DCPA de la Ville de Paris, Jean Grandisson, Rudy Norbal, Rodrigue Rosemont, Jean-Christophe Portenier (Lighting) / TEXT : Edited and translated by NESS from the Pavilion de l’Arsenal press information