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The volume of world e-commerce is increasing each year, and the shops and boutiques are compelled to develop new services and concepts in order to maintain their customers’ interest and fidelity. Noting this, the brands see an opportuity to personnalize constant and enriching experiences reflecting their values, physically and emotionally. Apple and Nike were among the first to propose them to their customers to create a stronger relation. As an example, the immersive experiences proposed by Gucci with high resolution displays that enable shoppers to browse various products using hand gestures. And also the multi-sensory experiences proposed to the young consumers who spend plenty of time on Internet. Fashion, cosmetics, electronics, design products : the architects try to to represent the brand’s spirit, and even in certain cases, to complete its universe by stagings.. This means that the interaction between architecture and the product goes much further than the building itself . Some architectures are intentionally neutral and stay, sort of, in the background. Others , and it’s the present trend, are unique and tailor-made.
For Arup, in a recent document, new strategies bank on social and environmental impacts. Promoters would prefer new buildings to considerably reduce the maintenance costs and increase the flexibility. In Barcelona, the Zara boutique gives priority to natural light, at the same time being equipped with an automatic control system adapting temperatures, humidity and lighting to the precise needs. As we can see, retail trade stays a very dynamic sector reinventing itself permanently.After years of more and more important surfaces, the trend is now to focus on smaller and more urban places. Shops have always played a significant role within the city. It is today more obvious than ever.They become again social spaces. The city centres are revitalized. And city planning means the opportunity to experiment new ideas and new enterprise concepts when creating retail shops and boutiques.

The Archi-Europe team

Portrait of the month

1 Christian de Portzamparc
© Steve Murez

2 La Cidade das Artes, Rio © Hufton+Crow

3 Prism tower, New York © Wade-Zimmerman

4 Dior, Seoul
© Nicolas Borel

5 CasArts, Casablanca

6 Arena Nanterre-La Défense, Paris

7 L’Avant-Scène – Trésums, Annecy © Golimages-ACDP

8 Philharmonie of Luxemburg
© Jorg Hejkal

Christian de Portzamparc

Respected throughout the world, Christian de Portzamparc is at the same time architect, urban planner and painter. Since the beginning of his career, he is involved in the research of forms, and their meaning, even in his most recent projects.

Born in Casablanca in 1944, Christian de Portzamparc confesses that he was first interested by painting before deciding to study architecture. Le Corbusier’s sketches have stimulated his interest for art and nourished his reflection on architecture. After studying at the Fine Arts School in Paris where he graduated in 1969, he didn’t start to work immediately as an architect. His involvement in studies on districts and buildings enable him to understand the social responsibility of architecture. From then onwards, his work, based on an in-depth urbanistic and structural analysis, develops with manifest projects and competitions, leading him to the evolution of methods. He always considers a building as part of a whole concept, a piece creating a collective unity which is the city. From singular buildings to redesigned urban planning, the city is one of the founding subjects of his work.

In 1980, he opens his practice in Paris: the Atelier Christian de Portzamparc. With a close-knit team of 100 employees, he undertakes ambitious worldwide projects, on many scales and in a great variety of programs. From design drawings to construction technical solutions, each project is a research and experimentation challenge. Among his most famous projects it is worth mentioning the Music City, a group of white and opaque structures on the side of the Villette Park in Paris (first phase finished in 1990, the second one in 1995). This project belongs to these « landmark buildings », attraction poles of the city, one of the three key elements of the architect’s work, as well as the Hergé Museum in Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium), designed as a strong architecture with coloured and dreamlike interior spaces, the Luxemburg Philarmony, the Cidade das Artes in Rio de Janeiro, or the brand new Dior building in Seoul, a mind-blowing construction coated with long glassfiber shells. Christian de Portzamparc has worked on towers, second key element, since his first project in 1971: a water tower covered with vegetation, designed for the new town of Marne-la-Vallée. His sculptural Lille Tower (finished in 1999), intends to be a singular object erected on a railway station in the Euralille district of Rem Koolhaas. The best known tower is the LVMH tower in New York (finished in 1999), followed by the competition for the Hearst Tower in 2000, soon to be accompanied by the Residential Prism Tower on Park Avenue in Manhattan, inaugurated in may 2015, then the 306 m high Tower One57 finished in 2014, accommodating a hotel and super-luxurious apartments some with breathtaking views over Central Park and the New York skyline. The 603-feet high headquarters of the French bank Société Générale at La Défense district in Paris, the Granite Tower (completed in 2008) is the first sustainable high-rise building in France (HQE certified, the French equivalent of the North American LEED). These towers are the result of his researches on verticality and its sculptural dimension, characterized by the prismatic forms.

As to the third key element, “the districts and the city”, they cover different levels, from the block to the great cities evolution. In his renewed vision of the urban structure, which Christian de Portzamparc calls ”open block”, his architect and urban planner work focuses on research, on the life quality spaces and the understanding of the city.

In 1994, Christian de Portzamparc became the first French architect to gain the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize at the age of 50. He has also received many distinctions. In 2006, the Collège de France created a chair dedicated to “artistic creation” and Christian de Portzampark was its first holder.

1 Christian de Portzamparc

2 La Cidade das Artes, Rio (2013).
The Cidade das Artes is situated in a new district deprived of strong urban landmarks and public spaces. New point of reference in the greater Rio area, it is a small raised city organized around a terrace 10 meters above ground, floating above a tropical and aquatic garden. It is seen like a large house, tribute to an archetype of Brazilian architecture. Between the two horizontal plates of the roof and the terrace are set the large curved concrete walls that contain the halls in an interplay of volumes and voids. First Prize AFEX 2014.

3 Prism tower, New York (2014)
Local architect: Gary Edward Handel & Associates
Residential tower, housing businesses on ground level with subway access, the building is composed of two main sections, completed on each side by a vertical pavilion. The space opened between the tower and its surroundings tempers the “light shaft” phenomenon. The prismatic design of the volumes gathers light while optimizing views onto the streets to provide a perspective into the far distance and takes into account the necessary recess towards the avenue.

4 Dior, Seoul (2015)
Wink to the « woman flower », this audacious and elegant building houses the largest Dior boutique in the world. Eleven 25m high fiberglass shells cover it. So as to be in resonance with Christian Dior’s work, the architect chose soft and flexible surfaces, « weaved like white coton canvasses ». These surfaces rising towards the sky seem to be moving. Crossed by a few lines, they are assembled with great precision. The entrance, where the two shells are closest, is a sort of modern rib. Two surfaces in metallic links cross each other to continue the clothes metaphor. Peter Marino has designed the interior decoration.

5 CasArts, Casablanca (2017)
Local architect: Rachid Andaloussi
Seen as a « cultural medina » of 24 700 sqm which favours the passage, the meetings, the mixity, this theatre (the biggest in Africa and the Arab world) is composed of many pavilions. Instead of an autonomous architectural object, unambiguous, this fluid ensemble defies symmetry without opposing it, inviting visitors to enter the shadow of another interior universe through several slim, appealing gaps and entrances leading to a vast and lofty cross-cutting public gallery composed of curved red staffs. In the external simplicity of the white architecture, the gaps draw passers-by towards the shade – the half-light of this pathway and its entry point, where one comes to sit in cafés refreshed by natural ventilation. A moucharabieh terracotta and resin shear wall floats along the square’s buildings.

6 Arena Nanterre-La Défense, Paris (2016)
This indoor entertainment hall integrated in the city will be one of the largest in Europe, able to welcome up to 40 000 people. It will also be the largest indoor multipurpose facility as in no time it can be transformed into a sports ground. Enthusiastic project and sports performance, as per the architect’s own words, and also a structural performance, as this construction site will use 3200 tons of steel (the half of the Eiffel Tower), 6500 tons of metallic structures and thirteen kilometers of stands. The building itself can de easily recognized by its concrete roof and its scaled façade.

7 L’Avant-Scène – Trésums, Annecy (2015)
Situated on the steep site of the former Annecy Hospital, this real estate project, formed by seven privative blocks is the answer to a commitment to build a new district with an architectural and landscape personality. The blocks adapt to the strong slope by creating different levels along a six-hectare park crossing through the site. »The architecture reinterprets here, in a contemporary way, the forms, materials and roofs of the mountain architecture. The concrete stone of the bases, the zinc of the sloping roofs, trees and lawns: here the city is in harmony with the nature »

8 Philharmonie of Luxemburg (2005)
Operating architect: Christian Bauer & associés
A vast peristyle of 827 vertical lines, constituting a foyer around the Grand Auditorium, surrounds the building. It filters the light, enabling the public to either see or forget their surroundings. The section around the great hall resembles “cliffs” punctuated by strips of light through which the public enters the concert hall balconies at different levels via a long footbridge.

Project of the month




4 Aesop Stockholm (In Praise of Shadows)

5 Aesop Singapore (March Studio)

6 Aesop Sao Paulo (Paulo Mendes da Rocha)

7 Aesop Osaka (Torafu Architects)

8 Aesop Oslo (Snøhetta)

Retail architecture

Focus on the last Apple Store opened in Brussels and on the Aesop boutiques network.

For its first shop in Belgium, the brand’s 425 th, Apple has chosen the exclusive ground floor of the “Toison d’Or” building, covered with glass to offer a maximum of natural light. Whilst Aesop, the Australian cosmetics brand created in 1987, has a worldwide network of about 100 shops well known for their integration in the local culture.

Apple Store Brussels

Designed by the practices UN Studio and Jaspers-Eyers, the “Toison d’Or” building is erected in the Quartier Louise and closely combines shopping spaces and high standing apartments. Its façade pays a tribute to the cultural heritage of the Belgian capital. “The floral lines, the space layout, the use made of the light and the sloping profile of the building are a modern interpretation of the Art Nouveau philosophy, underline the architects of Jaspers-Eyers.” The great curved panel windows and the special organic structure accommodate, from now onwards, the Apple Store, a particular retail concept already implemented in their first US Apple Store in 2001.
Centered on a consumer-designed environment, each one of the stores focuses on emotion, on users’ commitments by transmitting a clear brand message. The Brussels Store, the first one supervised by Jony Ive, has an angle façade on two levels. Inside, sober colors, a terrazzo floor, a 9 m high stretched ceiling, display tables, wooden benches and two rows of trees planted in giant pots. The light lines are housed on all the ceiling’s length, like those of the Apple Store of Foster + Partner in Hangzou (China). Next step: the renovation of the Regent Street Apple Store in London, a huge space of more than 1000 sqm, visited by about four million visitors each year.

Photos 1, 2 & 3


The Australian brand boasts about its desire to propose an unique design for each one of its shops: in Stockholm, it’s a counter made of solid elm coming from one of the town’s parks, or in Singapore an important mass of coconut fibers hanging from the boutique’s ceiling. The founder Dennis Paphitis calls on numerous architects, the Japanese Torafu Architects, the French Ciguë, the Belgian Vincent Van Duysen, March Studio or the Brazilian Paulo Mendes da Rocha, who, with the cooperation of Associated Architects, has designed the interior of Aesop’s boutique in Sao Paulo. A concrete countertop undulates around a structural column in the boutique’s centre. Or even more, the Norwegian Snohetta who created in Oslo an intimate 66sqm space, playing with the contrasts of forms and materials and sitting on top, intertwined domes of different sizes. Discovered when the renovation took place, the floor tiles were treated with a light finish so as to correspond to the monochrome interior. The use of recycled materials is a common characteristic to all the stores. The San Francisco store has a double wall with boxes made of recovered wood. In Kyoto, Torafu Architects has recycled steel pipes and lamps, which were recuperated from fishing boats, to use them as the shop’s focal point. In each place, this original way of organizing the space enables to favour much closer relations with the customers.

4 Aesop Stockholm (In Praise of Shadows)
Photo courtesy of Aesop

5 Aesop Singapore (March Studio)
Photo courtesy of Aesop

6 Aesop Sao Paulo (Paulo Mendes da Rocha)
Photo courtesy of Aesop

7 Aesop Osaka (Torafu Architects)
Photo © Takumi Ota

8 Aesop Oslo (Snøhetta)
Photo courtesy of Snøhetta

Product of the month

Get to know our 5 new colours in the waterstruck range

We have added 5 unique colours to our popular waterstruck brick range. These earth tone nuances provide simplicity, peace and harmony with nature.

Fresh from the kiln:

grey base with white, pale grey to brownish shades
grey base with white and grey shades and dark cinder stone markings
grey base with pale, yellow and blue shades
grey-beige base with pale shades
dark brownish-grey base with soft shades

This facing brick is sometimes described as a smooth hand-made brick. The visible surface is not smooth, but very lightly textured, without a sand-coated surface. The fired colour of the clay or loam types used determines the final colour.

More information about the Waterstruck range

Hagen, Haldor, Berit, Runar, Flemming
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Uni Security welded mesh of Heras

Choose 3x smarter security with the Heras Uni Security welded mesh

Heras introduces the next step in welded meshs: Uni Security. By opting for this unique welded mesh you are choosing 3x smarter security. The patented technology developed by Heras offers you 3 significant advantages. Discover the difference that Uni Security can provide. A standard welded mesh is a security tool. The Heras welded mesh however offers improved security. The Heras Uni Security welded mesh is even 3x smarter. Heras Uni Security welded mesh:

Your security is ensured thanks to its through & through connections

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Delivers a stylisch look and ambience

Smarter, better looking and ready for the future. Choose Uni Security by Heras!

More information: Uni Security welded mesh of Heras

Events in the spotlight

SeSa Build - Building and Engineering a Safer World - February 25 - 27 2016 Istanbul

The extended concept for SeSa Build comprises a wide range of aspects across the field of earthquake-resistant building construction and civil engineering, including for example security and IT solutions. Emphasis is placed on quality, sustainability, design, long-term solutions, environmental technology and energy efficiency.

The aim of the new concept for the fair is to serve the needs of the young and growing Turkish middle classes for a safer living environment. With a clear regional focus SeSa Build provides the best framework for one-to-one dialog between decision-makers, customers, partners and other interested parties from the sector. With The cooperation agreement between Messe München International, the owner and organizer of SeSa Build, and the Building Information Centre, YEM, represents another cornerstone in the development strategy of SeSa Build. Through the cooperation with YEM, SeSa Build is aiming to strengthen its position in the key Turkish market and to attract exhibitors and visitors from the region.

Turkey is well known as a top destination for its growing international trade fair business. As a meeting point and a major hub between Europe and Asia with a modern fast-growing economy and many business opportunities is it the best place to establish a show like SeSa Build. With the competence of the BAU Munich and with its accompanying high-class conference program, its geographical advantage and easy visa procedures, is SeSa Build ready to welcome professionals from all over the world.

For more information about Sesa Build:

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Ecobuild - 08-10 March 2016 at EXCEL LONDON

Ecobuild is the leading UK exhibition and conference for the construction and energy market, inspiring over 40,000 industry professionals from across the supply chain. We connect building professionals in order to help them to learn, network and discover new ideas and innovative products.

Join your construction and energy peers in March 2016 with 75% claiming that Ecobuild is a great show and one not to miss!

It brings you a mix of suppliers that offer thousands of new and innovative products and services as well as offering a programme set to inspire, educate and solve your every day challenges. Take a look at what will be happening at Ecobuild 2016....

More information about Ecobuild

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15-18 March 2016, Palais des Festivals, Cannes, France

MIPIM, the world’s leading property market, brings together the most influential players from all international property sectors - office, residential, retail, healthcare, sport, logistics and industrial, offering unrivalled access to the greatest number of development projects and sources of capital worldwide.

Key figures
21.400 participants, 351 stands, 89 countries, 2.445 exhibiting companies, 17.700m² exhibition area, 4.800 investors.

More information about MIPIM 2016.


Located in the Gare Maritime, next to the Palais des Festivals, the MIPIM Innovation Forum is a 1,300 m² pavilion gathering all innovation stakeholders to showcase the most innovative solutions and practices to increase the value of property assets.

Alongside the exhibition hall, a dedicated programme of conferences takes place at the MIPIM Innovation Forum and its extension: case studies, pitching sessions at the Vitra lounge or private talks with famous architects and startups.

• Smart buildings & technologies
• Energy efficiency
• Occupiers comfort
• Design & architecture in new buildings
• Disruptive innovations in buildings

Find out more about the programme.

Competitions in the spotlight

Archi-World® Academy 2015 - 2017 - III edition

After the great success of the first two editions 2011/1013 and 2013/2015 with the active participation of 24 world renowned architects as jury members, we are now launching Archi-World® Academy Awards 3.

We have the pleasure to present to you the jury members of the 2015 - 2017 edition: Sergey Romanov, Rudy Ricciotti, JKMM Architects, COOP HIMMELB(L)AU, Poponcini & Lootens, Labics, Guz Architects, SBA Architects, Grafton Architects, CHIASMUS, Ercan Çoban Architects, Emilio Ambasz and Associates

This third edition of the Archi-World Academy Awards will again involve students in architecture and architecture schools from all over the world and give to 12 winning students a fantastic opportunity to win a prestigious traineeship in top architecture practices which will definetely boost their carreer !

Challenge us with your best projects in a new topic "Responsible Future Architecture".

Registration is open:

More information:

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Piscine Global and Archi-Europe have the pleasure of launching the third edition of the international award for Pool architecture: Pool Vision. The competition is divided into three geographical zones: Piscine Global, Piscine Middle East and Piscine Asia

CATEGORIES for Piscine Global:
• The most beautiful residential pool
• The most beautiful tourism and leisure pool
• The most beautiful public pool
• The most beautiful renovated pool
• The most innovative pool

CATEGORIES for Piscine Middle East and Asia:
• The most beautiful residential pool
• The most beautiful tourism and leisure pool
• The most innovative pool

Principle and aim:
Pool Vision 2016 will select and award prizes to outstanding swimming pool projects from around the world, judging them from the technical and aesthetic standpoints, water treatment, coverings, accessories, spas, etc..

Registration deadline:
Pool Vision Middle East: 01/05/2016
Pool Vision Asian: 16/05/2016
Pool Vision Global: 17/06/2016

Register here:

More about Pool Vision 2016:

Design Derby BE/NL 1815 - 2015 Design Museum Gent
(23/10/2015 – 13/03/2016) – Ghent Fundação Serralves (B)
Chandigarh : Cinquante ans après Le Corbusier
(11/11/2015 – 29/02/2016) – Paris Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine (F)
Aga Khan Awards 2015 Award for Architecture
(16/10/2015 – 17/01/2016) – Brussels (B)
Jani Leinonen
(> 31/01/2016) - Helsinki
Kiasma (FI)
Don’t Touch
(27/11/2015 – 17/04/2016) - Zürich Museum Bellerive (CH)
>> read more

Deadline: 16/01/2016

eVolo 2016 Skyscraper Competition
Deadline: 26/01/2016

TIMBER IN THE CITY: Urban Habitat Competition
Deadline: 25/05/2016

>> read more

Superlux: Smart Light Art, Design & Architecture for Cities
Davina Jackson

Thames & Hudson Publishers
€ 44.69
272 pages
ISBN 978-0500343043

>> Read more

Why Density?
Aurora Fernández Per & Javier Mozas

€ 44.50
256 pages
English / Spanish
ISBN 978-8460657514

>> Read more

Accessibilité des bâtiments aux personnes handicapées
(Building’s accessibility for people with disabilities)

Carole Le Bloas

Editions du Moniteur
€ 39.00
232 pages
ISBN 978-2281117585

>> Read more

© 2015 Archi-Europe
Responsible Editor: Jacques Allard
Chief Editor: Marie-Claire Regniers

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