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Saguez & Partners: creators of pleasure

Olivier Saguez and Boris Gentine at the Manufacture.

Saguez & Partners

Past masters in the art of reinventing the shopping center, Olivier Saguez and his partner Boris Gentine share here their vision of meetings, space, culture ...

Coffee and croissants ...

Like Silicon Valley start-ups, the Design Factory welcomes its "workers" in the morning, with hot coffee and fresh croissants. Olivier Saguez says: "I want the teams to flourish." Proof is, Boris Gentine is a pure product made in Saguez. After climbing all the ladder within the agency, he became creative director. Together, they tell us how they think of shopping centers, and how they help cities and businesses make an identity.

Corners Nespresso and Co

Nespresso corners (around 3,500 worldwide), terminal terminals (S4 at Roissy), shopping centers (Parly 2, So West in the Paris region), there are countless projects completed by the agency. Currently 100,000 m² are under study in France, and from Brazil to China. But the two creators forbid themselves to do international design. "Our work forces us to find identities, to dive into a story," says Olivier Saguez. "In the case of the Nespresso corners, the goal was to reveal in these small spaces and to export to the four corners of the world the legendary Swiss watchmaking precision." It is the same when the agency works on the image of a city, its logo, its graphic charter, its street furniture, its transport.

Do not want to please everyone

For the resort of Chamonix - for which Saguez & Partners won the Top / Com Corporate Business 2013 Design Grand Prix -, "we must go back to its past, the conquest of the Alps, the English epic, the strong presence of granite, the red of the Mont-Blanc-Express train, etc. This is a partial vision, but it is a re-reading necessary to redraw the portrait of a city.Regional design is also referring to the people who live there. We must not look at creating, we must work for users, not for a mayor.It must go to more rooting.Any way, wanting to please everyone, is not to please long, "says -t it.

Refer to the story

Boris Gentine confirms it: "We always refer to the history of the place in our projects." For the renovation of a Danish shopping center, totally impersonal, the agency wanted to recreate a history, by implanting typically Scandinavian furniture. Similarly, in the shopping center of Parly 2 near Versailles (first created in France in 1969 and rehabilitated by the agency in 2011), some details of architecture and furniture clearly evoke the 1960s, with for example Benches by Charles & Ray Eames. It is also a way to bring a bit of culture to places that have, a priori, only a commercial purpose. History, culture and commerce are always closely linked in their achievements. Olivier Saguez even went so far as to wink at Kasimir Malevich in a Spar supermarket. "Whatever the demand, there are levels below which we do not want to go down, we want to think that people are intelligent, cultivated, intuitive, even if only 2% of them will be sensitive, we will have won We refuse to be scrappy ", proudly assures Olivier Saguez.

That the customer consumes without realizing it

Saguez & Partners wants customers to consume (almost) without realizing it. "Do not give the feeling of attracting them into a trap, especially by offering them a little culture, and a lot of space," says Boris Gentine. "It's a real challenge to leave a void, and it can not be filled! We design green spaces, large alleys, and we cover walls with rough materials so they can not be polluted by unwanted display. " "These are moments of pause that give a general impression of well-being, as when we decide not to watch TV during the holidays," adds Olivier Saguez.

The shopping center of pleasure

"We are also trying to bring in the outside light, to move away from the idea of ​​a commercial circuit." Before, it emanated no notion of the pleasure of the time reserved for the races. We must accept that a person who goes to a shopping center will not necessarily go through the act of purchase, whether they are there just for fun, for a walk, to have a coffee, to meet someone. commercial place is to provoke these meetings, to think behaviors before aesthetics.And it also passes through the furniture.It must generate contact, with conversation benches, ramps, armrests, etc. ". As for example in the context of the current rehabilitation of TGV, where the agency has imagined a rounded bench in the lower room and another swivel at the bar to promote rapprochement. "Before thinking about the furniture itself, I imagine the scenes of people on it, the moments of life," says Olivier Saguez.

Invite the luxury sector

"The shopping centers are managed by a single operator, everything is easily manageable," explains Mr. Saguez "We can offer a real comfort of purchase by removing all microstress.We work a lot on parking, maintenance, sanitary, spaces for babies and children, etc. Services that are not found in the city center.The more they will be completed, the more they will also seduce the luxury sector which will approach this way of consuming, as we see in Asia or the United States. "

Compete with e-commerce

If shopping becomes a pleasure, shopping centers will certainly be able to cope with the success of online sales. "These new shopping centers allow customers to come out of the screens - they can touch, try, meet." Out of the question therefore to imagine a place with touch screens or other gadgets. "We already have virtual full pockets!" Indignant Olivier Saguez. The new technologies must, of course, be integrated into these new commercial places, but in the greatest discretion, only in order to bring a real service to the customer, and to further promote this pleasure shopping.