Conran and Partners have completed a significant redesign of the lobby spaces at Crowne Plaza ® Paris – République. The launch marks the first step in a wider roll-out of a new concept-design blueprint for the brand in Europe, aiming to deliver a distinctive guest experience globally.
The lobby has been reinvigorated as the brand’s flexible work and meeting concept, ‘Plaza Workspace.’ This contemporary hub was developed to meet the changing needs of modern business travellers seeking more comfortable public and semi-public spaces in which to work and relax. Regarded as the biggest design innovation in the brand’s history, Crowne Plaza Paris – République is the first hotel to launch the Plaza Workspace in Europe.
The concept offers inspiring surroundings where hotel guests and locals can comfortably work on their own, enjoy a coffee over a business meeting or socialise with friends. Throughout Plaza Workspace there is an abundance of tech savvy elements: tables feature integrated wireless phone chargers and high-speed Wi-Fi is available to address the growing trend in flexible work and life preferences and people’s desire to work from anywhere. Plaza Workspace also includes The Studio, a bookable-by-the-hour meeting space to cater for private meetings and events, complete with its own bar counter and break-out lounge seating. Conran and Partners’ design maximises the flow of guests through the spaces, allowing them to transition seamlessly between work and downtime.
The former main entrance of the hotel has been relocated from the Place de la République to one side of the building, giving the arrival experience a more private feel with access via a courtyard in the style of a traditional Parisian apartment block. The signature bar is now in a more prominent position closer to the outside terrace, which runs along the hotel’s principal façade.
In contrast to a traditional arrival experience, guests are initially welcomed by a centrally-located monument wall. This wall – referencing the original Haussmann-era architecture of the area – serves to orientate the guest, dividing the space between the ‘plaza’ (the informal and relaxed bar spaces) and the ‘gallerie’ (the refined and elegant reception and studio spaces). Among the book selection adorning the shelves of the lounge and Plaza Workspace are titles on Haussmann’s contribution to the remodelling of Paris. Conran and Partners have also completed the design of the European adaptation of the ‘WorkLife’ concept guestroom, a design patented in the United States, which will serve as the basis for the wider redesign of rooms and other non-public facing areas of the hotel in the future.
The Place de la République is famous as the site of the statue of Marianne – the personification of the French Republic – commemorating the founding of the First Republic of France in 1792. The square is important as one of the key locations where Parisians congregate during times of national significance.
The hotel occupies an exceptionally attractive and restored Haussmann building, formerly a department store, Les Magasins Réunis. It is located at the point where three different arrondissements (3rd, 10th and 11th) of the city meet. A couple of original Haussmann features are still visible, including the staircase, wrought-iron balustrade and doors onto the original caged lifts at higher levels. Conran and Partners’ design also responds to the different – yet complementary – feel of each adjoining arrondissement (‘Fashionable’ (3rd), ‘Bohemian’ (10th) and ‘Modern’ (11th).
“Within the individual elements of a project there are always opportunities to work with manufacturers to create distinctive furniture commissions and bespoke materials. For each new development, we study the locale and create a narrative, drawing on our experience of blurring the boundaries between work and leisure to create strong, characterful places,” says Simon Kincaid, Partner at Conran and Partners.
Conran and Partners’ approach was based on a thorough analysis of Crowne Plaza’s success in the Americas as well as among its European target market. The practice developed an architectural strategy focusing on key elements within a typical guest stay. A series of seating typologies and a hierarchy of signature elements was created which enabled key functional elements to be located, while defining specific design features and focal points. This has given hotel guests and visitors a wider variety of spaces to encourage more dwell time.
The approach has also sought to reinterpret the idea of a ‘plaza’ as a place where people can meet and relax and applied this to the various spaces within the hotel, encouraging guests to move between different types of spaces. The design also responds to changing consumer behaviour, in particular flexible working and the ‘always on’ and ‘on-demand’ workplace culture. Spaces and services have been created to facilitate more business- related functions within the plaza workspace, both formal and informal, as well as helping to bring people into the hotel.
“The spaces in Place de la République are tech savvy, while acknowledging the need to embed humanity in the design to create a comfortable place to work and relax,” continues Kincaid. “The narrative we created for Crowne Plaza Paris- Republique is based on the concept of ‘New Modern’. It seeks to demonstrate that business hotels can be exciting by offering guests kind, personal touches, while introducing new, meaningful experiences for them to share and – above all – to appeal to the senses as far as possible.
“Our design narrative has informed the choice of furniture and accessories and even the rug design and the artwork selection (developed in collaboration with Double Decker Artwork Consultants), which seek to reference the various key art movements and artists closely associated with Paris since the mid-nineteenth century. Materiality and palette are central to our design thinking. These have been used to emphasise the drama of the various spaces through effective scene-setting and a cohesive lighting strategy. This project also demonstrates how leisure-orientated spaces are taking precedence over more corporate approaches to hotel design even when they are targeted at predominantly business
Libby Escolme, Global Vice President, Crowne Plaza, comments:
“I have always loved travel and staying at an inspiring hotel is often why I am excited about a business trip. Today’s traveller wants to stay somewhere that inspires them, where innovative design creates great spaces that work well. We have collaborated on this project with Conran and Partners, a best-in-class design firm, and I feel genuinely excited about how our new hotel spaces will enhance a guest’s stay with us.”