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Meet Tom’s Friends Architecture + Associés

Meet Tom’s Friends Architecture + Associés

June 01 2018

Pierre Beucler and Jean-Christophe Poggioli of Paris based Architecure + Associés,
worked with Tom Greyhound, designing our Paris store in 2014.
From the projects for museums in Paris to the well-known fashion houses,
they have created many iconic and inventive architectures
engaging in the realms of art, fashion and retail, establishing their own innovative universe.
Shed new light on your architectural interests with our interview with these amazing duo architects!
Photo via architecture + associés

It's been 4 years since you worked with TGH. Could you give us a brief background to the launching of the project back then?

To achieve good work and get enough freedom for the project, you have to start feeling good to think in a proper way. We remember the first visit of the place with David Kang, it was an art gallery at the time. We knew his dynamism and confidence, with the quality to listen will help us. It was also this space that had exhibited artists like James Turrell, Ugo Rondinone and Mark Handforth, and the energy that emanated from Tom Greyhound Seoul, everything was together to work in the same direction.

You have been working with many projects related to fashion industry, Is there any particular reason for that?

Originally, there were two centers of interest, theater scenography and museography, the idea of putting a volume in a scenario. It was no coincidence that the first to trust us in fashion were Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo for Comme des Garçons. It was certainly an extremely intellectual vision of fashion that had seduced us.

So, when you work with fashion brands, to embody each brand’s concept properly in the architectural design seems to require a lot of effort, how do you usually grasp the brand's key identity before the project starts?

To work with fashion brands, it is all about the right feeling, we often say that we are the extremely sensitive antennas, to translate precisely. We work well if our clients also deliver their requirements in strong position with specific goals. We must also be extremely curious all the time to feel the world around us, desires, life style... Theater, dance and cinema have been great sources of inspiration for us. However, through contemporary art and the meeting with certain artists who enrich us most recently, those are the only field of absolute mental freedom.

Could you tell us about the theme that you mainly focused on during designing our store?

To design a multi brand store, we immediately took into account the variety of collections, multiple formal proposals...suddenly we saw a succession of rhythms, graphic sequences, while remaining in an aesthetic continuity. For that we were inspired by constructivism, the story of graphics which became three dimensional. Our part took place rather in high, we were not in the aesthetic contradiction with the collections.

There are 49 tall wooden columns between the street entrance and the shop's main retail space, it's a distinctive feature for the fashion boutique to keep the main shopping area confidential from the outside. What was the intention of concealing the store with these bars?

Because of the visual constraints imposed in Paris, a strong gesture was needed behind the historic facade to ensure attractive visibility. We like in our work to have a notion of dialogue between two styles which were originally in contradiction. Also, multi brand store is a place where clients adhere to the choices, the aesthetic proposals of fashion they choose. The act of entering into this space must reflect all these.

The transformation of the architectural space not only changes the physical space itself but also have a substantial impact on the cultural atmosphere around its environs. What significance do you think that TGH has in the neighboring area, le Haut-Marais?

The particular feeling of TGH in the Haut Marais is obviously something else than an umpteenth shop. The proximity of many art galleries is important for the general feeling of the neighborhood. We love creating a place like this, which can welcome the international travelers but especially can attract over time loyal customers nearby, sensitive to the culture that comes and goes, the concept of an intimate space of people who trust the creative positions of a particularly dedicated team.

In comparison with the brand's boutiques, multi brand concept stores like us carry a wide variety of brands, could you tell me a little bit about the differences between them through out the designing process?

In the architectural concept of a multi brand store, we must create a united global concept reflecting the spirit of the artistic direction of the place, we must also work in the form of sequences showing thematic choices clearly or respecting the personality of each creator. We must also think of a certain fluidity, a possible flexibility while respecting the overall architectural concept. The "sculpture islands" for the accessories of TGH are a perfect example, they are not fixed and evolve perfectly according to the purchases and presentations of new collections.

It might be a worn-out question, but what is your favorite&inspirational architectural project these days?

Fondazione Prada which has just completed its last phase, because this architectural project reflects in its result the perfect union and the perfect trust between the architect and the initiators of the project.

In Europe, especially in Paris, combining old and new elements in architectural design seems to be very significant and challenging factor for architects, but still it’s meaningful to respect the historical background by preserving an old building and create something new from it. How do you see this specific feature of architecture in Paris and what do you expect in the future?

In Paris, perhaps thanks to our participations in several museums, particularly in the Louvre Museum, we are especially interested in this duality. The important thing when working in this context is above all not to seek compromise. Only a strong gesture can save you. Perhaps because historically, the French remain partly revolutionary! And so, in the future, these oppositions will always be beneficial for the projects.

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