photographer: Renaud Callebaut
It is a fact that the relations between consumer, product and space are becoming ever more personal, empathetic and necessary. This is the venue par excellence for the architecture of interiors, where the sensitive designer instils a direct relationship with the customer whom he sees as an individual and a person and whose queries will often combine functionality and economy with emotions, dreams and desires. Spaces and furnishings are arranged so as to communicate and create an atmosphere of reassurance. reaking through the threshold of privacy and entering the homes, or other places of a deliberately intimate character (eg. restaurants, hotels or certain shops), we discover that the tile is not used for any whatsoever finish, but quite rightly for the most external and visible parts, as a type of ‘skin’ for the place where we enclose affections, relations and emotions, in the desire for a better quality of life, at least within those four walls.
Meeting places and market places par excellence, not all hotels manage to fit the mould of their surroundings perfectly and at the same time offer their guests that genuine home from home feeling. But the Sofitel Bellecour Hotel in Lyon scores full marks for both, thanks in no small part to Patrick Norguet, the creative brain behind the renovation of the hotel and whose ‘slow’ approach to design translates into interiors with a convivial and narrative feel.
THE PROJECT This recent renovation, the work of French designer Patrick Norguet, has succeeded in bringing to the fore the prestigious character of a hotel that is a landmark in Lyon. The new sleek, yet welcoming and convivial interior is the product of the perfect complementary mix of traditional craft techniques and the designer’s eclectic choice of the very finest of materials. Built in the 70s and the backdrop to summits and top-level meetings in the past, its delightfully harmonious contrasts, the unexpected authenticity of its contemporary interior and the familiar modernity of its scale are what give this hotel a whole new appeal.
The designer’s ‘slow’ approach to restyling the hotel’s interior is behind this unique feel, giving it that timeless quality that will stand the test of time. For ‘slow design’ is not simply a passing trend, but a whole new concept, an alternative approach to design. It represents a completely new lifestyle with optimum use of available resources and a life led in harmony with the surrounding environment. Based on the coming together of three concepts, slow design is sensory, systematic and sustainable
The design of the common areas of the hotel – the lobby, the Le Melhor bar, the Silk brasserie , the Les Trois Dômes gourmet restaurant, the gym, the spa and the adjoining garden with its bar – is the result of an extremely detailed contextual analysis by the designer. The aim: to give the hotel a true sense of identity and to avoid the merely decorative. Mission accomplished, with the integration of both local and global features the designer placed centre stage, and global features the designer placed centre stage, and his communication of specific sensory experiences.
Patrick Norguet delved ever deeper into Lyon’s wealthy past as nerve centre of the French textile industry, and of the silk industry in particular. Wishing to pay homage to an evocative national cultural heritage, Norguet joined forces with Tassinari et Chatel, one of the city’s oldest and the last remaining textile merchants. Together they performed the painstaking task of trawling through historical records, reproducing each and every motif in existence over the years. The result is a patchwork of embroidery and prints that decorates the walls of the lobby, in perfect contrast with the contemporary décor. The designer called on the services of artist Gille Cenazandotti for this part of the project.
The sustainable and convivial sensory aspects of Norguet’s new interiors also feature harmonious contrasts in the décor, such as the coffee and silvery colours in the Trois Dôme restaurant and the red and black in the Le Melhor bar, the whole theme punctuated by understated yet original furnishings with attitude.
The convivial, narrative style of the design whisks us back, quite effortlessly, to the bosom of the family, a nurturing cocoon where stories play out, relationships forged, where there is room for meetings and exchanges, developing and creating, as if by magic, new cyclical patterns.
Design team: Studio Patrick Norguet
Equipe : Thomas Dewynter, Thibaud Klepper
Responsable du projet : Thomas Dewynter
Client: Groupe Accor
Project partners: architecture project: