Located on the ground floor of the Dubai Mall, one of the largest shopping centres on the planet -54 million visitors in 2012 – the Patchi store, designed in 2008 by lautrefabrique has been given a complete make-over to fit the image of it’s new brand identity, that of a leader in the market for upscale gift chocolates in the Middle East. In 2010, a space became vacant next to the store. The extension was made possible. Although the project was now viable there were still several difficulties. The task was to bring together two elements that were totally different both in size and in condition in order to create a single ”seamless” space that was twice as large (380 m2 in total) thus setting a new, luxurious and dramatic scene that would echo the brand’s new slogan “Patchi, chocolate gifts destination.” All this was to be done remotely and in two phases, with the work being carried out at night so as not to interrupt sales (546 clients per day, opening 12 hours a day and up to 24 hours a day on public holidays). A considerable challenge with nine months of research and design and four months of construction.
lautrefabrique has designed Patchi stores for nearly a decade, showcasing their concept : chocolate jewels decorated, dressed and presented as a jeweler would in a multitude of boxes, organized in distinct categories : chocolate cellar, new collection, wedding gifts, birth, tableware …
While remaining faithful to the luxurious standards but new banner of the brand, the flagship shop must also relate to the shopping excursion spirit unique to the Dubai Mall where it is located opposite the doors leading on to the famous Burj Dubai Fountains.
Without redoing everything from top to bottom, it was vital to remove any hint that there had once been two stores here. In bringing together two volumes lautrefabrique designed a huge, 30 m transparent showcase punctuated by a giant black square measuring 4.5 m by 4.5 m, the famous chocolat maker’s illuminated sign, flanked by two flag signs forming the entrance.
This focal point is a trick to conceal various joints and pillars and to mask the concrete structure of the shopping center.
But the unity thus created must also extend to the interior of the store where the original style has been retained and which cleverly unfolds over the walls, ceilings and floor. Curves appear, in reassuring bulkheads that soften the shelves and in a cylindrical tower (the gourmandine tower), which develops into a clever display. Nearby, in perfect harmony, a spectacular ebony case lends its deep brown curves to the brand’s new boxes. Everywhere, bright RGB wells run around the cylindrical elements, enlivening them with light. A clever system of cantilever shelving with both glass and solid shelves and walls of drawers alternate horizontally and vertically while perforated partitions modulate the enlarged volume, while maintaining the advantages of transparency. Close by, between immaculate shelves and rounded walls, a peaceful lounge area welcomes the undecided guest… As for the floor, a no less essential actor of this elegant work of unification, it was covered with ultra-thin tiles (3 mm thick) allowing a clean pattern. Black or white, ebony brown, a new version of lime green, retro-painted glass … Tens of thousands of Patchi references now enthroned in a beautiful box. As if by magic but all the while compromising with the inevitable pitfalls of working from a distance, the new shop is most definitely a single entity. Everywhere one looks, the architecture, materials and colors sing the delicious notes of harmony and elegance.
Lautrefabrique “Literally The Other Mill”
The offices of lautrefabrique are located in a former silk mill, a listed building in La Galicière a locality of the village of Chatte, Isère, midway between Grenoble and Valence, and 20 minutes from Valence TGV station.
Jean-Pascal Crouzet, DPLG founded lautrefabrique in May 2001 and leads a team of 5 to 7 employees. With international experience, gained through working with reputable clients with very high standards, lautrefabrique offers a full range of architectural services. Trained in environmental approaches, it offers a pragmatic approach focusing on promoting straightforward, common sense solutions in both public and private markets. The scale and areas of lautrefabrique’s projects are varied and allow the expression of architecture that the geographical context of the projects and programs requires. Local projects consist primarily of the renovation of old buildings, both public and private. Those carried out in the Middle East are either new buildings or interior architecture programs which correspond to a strong brand image, and are projects for which design excels in the expression of functionality, ergonomics, communication and merchandising.
In 1989, Jean-Pascal Crouzet completed his architectural studies at the School of Grenoble, moved to Cayenne, French Guyana, and worked as a project manager for the firm Degrés et Grades. In late 1991, he returned to France to get his post-graduate diploma with first class honors – President of the jury Jacques Hondelatte. A Diploma that won the City of Grenoble Award 1992 for the best Personal End of Studies Work. In early 1992, he joined the firm Studios Architecture International who had recently opened an office in Paris. He participated in its development, specializing in the production of computer-generated imaging.
Noticed by one of the founding partners of Studios, he was invited to spend 6 months in the agency’s main office in San Francisco. He then directed several major projects in Paris and across Europe for big names in Silicon Valley.
In 1997 he joined the London office to develop Phase II of the research and development campus at 3Com in Hemel Hampstead. Back in Paris he became associate architect.
Jean-Pascal left Studios Architecture in early 2000 to found lautrefabrique with his wife Nadia, also an architect.
Images and content courtesy of lautrefabrique