The story of transformation. La Fantaisie Hotel designed by PetitdidierPrioux Architectes | About architecture and more

The story of transformation.  La Fantaisie Hotel designed by PetitdidierPrioux Architectes |  About architecture and more

Project description by Petitdider Brio Architects

An urban-minded garden hotel
In a city with a diverse hotel market, the search for a new concept of hospitality necessarily involves finding ways to stand out. But how do we avoid the danger of formal overkill: the abundance of distinctive signals that is often resorted to as a recipe for commercial success?

The recently opened Hotel La Fantaisie is firmly rooted in its city and its history, developing a modern relationship with the street that goes beyond its generous and upscale facade. Rather than leaning towards grand gestures, the building aims to impress through an intimate conversation with its surroundings and the urban experience it offers.

The hotel is located in the 9th arrondissement, a popular tourist area in central Paris, which is not only one of the densest areas of the city, but also one of the areas with the smallest percentage of green spaces. However, when Cadet Street was built in the 17th century, it was originally intended as an access route to the orchards; The Cadet family, after whom the street is named, have been master gardeners since Charles IX.

The project site was already occupied by a hotel built at the end of the 20th century. Its architecture, a vague imitation of a classical house, seemed somewhat dated and contrasted markedly with the overall scale and style of this narrower part of the street. The building’s narrow and conservative entrances left no room to create an active street frontage on the ground floor, while the garden at the rear seemed like an afterthought.

La Fantaisie Hotel designed by PetitdidierPrioux Architectes. Photography by Sergio Grazia.

Compose with what exists
The aim of the project was to provide a comprehensive revision of the existing structure, removing all signs of old architecture and preserving much of the solid structure. The reimagining and transformation of the building provided the opportunity for greater acceptance of the project by local residents (as there was no heavy demolition work) and a design that required fewer resources.

This mindset ensured the best possible environmental approach during construction: expansions were developed meticulously, with a light touch, and every intervention was carefully thought out to solve problems without generating any unnecessary inflation.

A lively haven
The new hotel is designed to be a paradise, halfway between the hustle and bustle of the city and the tranquility of an urban retreat. To do this, one of the challenges was to incorporate breathing spaces into the design, thus creating an experience where guests are taken on an invigorating journey and creating interest outside the rooms, with an enlarged and newly landscaped garden; Ground floor design, largely open plan, with an urban park atmosphere and new services (commercial housing); Sanitary facilities replace unused underground parking, and a public rooftop entrance provides panoramic views of the rooftops of Paris.

The rooms have been enlarged and their geometry modified to provide a direct connection with the street or garden. The building’s urban lines have been refined and streamlined for a more harmonious and cohesive integration into the local fabric. The street façade was designed as a full-height filter, pure and elegant, resulting in a new urban landmark. Its expression is revealed by the simple geometric design of the rooms, which include floor-to-ceiling windows to compensate for the lack of natural light on a relatively narrow street. To protect guests from unwanted eyes, small balconies were added, providing an outdoor, horizontal privacy screen and providing another opportunity to enjoy the lively street atmosphere.

La Fantaisie Hotel designed by PetitdidierPrioux Architectes. Photography by Sergio Grazia.

nucleus of a plant
The ground floor is designed as a seamless transition between the public realm and the intimate interior, from the busy street to the quiet garden. On the street side, the business facade is maximized and elevated through storefront designs that combine wood and metal; While on the garden side, a large conservatory spanning the entire width of the grounds now houses the restaurant, giving guests the experience of sitting in the picturesque landscape, away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

On the roof, the program takes advantage of previously unused empty space against the upper parts of the party walls on both sides, restoring the urban alignment and reaffirming the skyline from the street. A dense glass volume housing a rooftop bar has been placed at the top as the culmination of this architectural journey.

The Parisian case
The materiality of the façade, composed of zinc with an antique grey-green finish, combines multiple expressions (folded or striped), in a celebration of the Parisian landscape: zinc and copper for the roofs, of course, as well as a richness of the façade decorations and the search for balance between the built environment and the landscape arrangements. Narrow sections of thin, steel-framed, wall-to-ceiling windows evoke the greenhouses that once filled the area.

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