The project was launched in 2014 as part of the Réinventer Paris call for projects. From the outset, all the partners were at the table, including Zoku, the hotel operator. Of the 8 floors of the building located directly opposite the Court of First Instance, the last 3 are dedicated to the Zoku hotel.
A project designed to be ahead of its time
This building is environmentally friendly, with a wooden structure. It lives up to what we wanted to achieve during the competition, and that's very satisfying."
Philippe Chiambaretta, architect and founder of PCA-STREAM: "It took 8 years to build this building. So it was vital to ask the right questions from the outset of the project, to avoid building in a state of programmed obsolescence. Bringing in the operator from the start of the project was a revolution in 2015."
Olivier Estève, Deputy Managing Director of Covivio: "For us, this building was a laboratory in a place where people didn't stop. From our point of view, it's a private building in the public interest.
In fact, it's been a great success, as it's now fully let.
This space has enabled us to explore the concept of reversibility as far as possible, with wooden architecture that allows the building to be transformed."
Mixed-use and circularity are not empty words
The ground floor is fully let to supermarkets, brasseries and small restaurants. It is also home to the STREAM Café, a shared space that will offer reintegrated workers a supportive teleworking space in partnership with the City of Paris.
Floors 1 to 5 have already been fully let to digital company OVH Cloud, for a total of 9,500 m2.
"We were looking to stay in the Paris inner suburbs, and the proximity of line 14 and our old premises is also an advantage. We were also won over by the ecological aspect of the building and Covivio's full range of services" added the OVH Cloud property manager.
Zoku's 109 rooms, rooftop, restaurant and meeting rooms are located on the top floors.
On the facade, 80 hop plants have been planted and a brewhouse has been built in the basement, along with a composting area to collect food waste from the food shops on the ground floor. Finally, the roof houses a 300m2 vegetable garden, with produce served by the Zoku restaurant, as well as 385m2 of photovoltaic panels.
Olivier Estève: "We had very strong environmental ambitions, and our choice of timber framing enabled us to have a 'clean' building site. We used French timber from sustainably managed forests. However, it's not enough to make a building energy efficient; the behaviour of its occupants has to be in line with this ambition. For example, our office tenant OVH supports our socially responsible coworking approach."
A project complicated by the Covid 19 crisis and its location
Xavier Musseau: "The works started in January 2020, which had some repercussions on the duration of the works. It took us 30 months to complete the construction. In 2020, we weren't facing too much competition from other supply sources for wood. The building became a bridge spanning lines 13 and 14. Ground movements forced us to review the foundations.
The mixed-use nature of the project also added to the complexity, forcing us to carry out several projects in the same building."
The Covivio hotels team adapted their partnership with Zoku to enable the Dutch company to continue operating the top 3 floors. During the Covid crisis, the company received aid from the Dutch government and was therefore prohibited from investing outside the Netherlands. Covivio therefore took full ownership of the business, as well as the building, to enable the project to go ahead. The investment was also made by Assurances Crédit Mutuel.
Zoku, a new partner for Covivio
Hans Meyer & Marc Jongerius, co-founders of ZOKU: "The 360° vision of the project was totally in line with our vision at Zoku. Our aim is to bring mixed-use products to life. In traditional hotels, the ambition is to put a head in a bed, but at Zoku it's about connecting people.
On the environmental side, our first property to open was B Corp certified in 2018 and we have entered the process to certify the whole company.
We focus a lot on the use of square metres. Before Covid, office space was used at 60%, now it's much less. At Zoku, each sq. m. can have several functions.
Olivier Estève: "We have several other projects in the pipeline with Zoku, particularly in the Paris suburbs." According to the Covivio hotels team, these projects could come to fruition in 2024.
Didier Quinot has been recruited to open this new hotel. "At Zoku, we have a different vision and mindset from what is practiced in Paris. There's a strong, committed HR policy. For example, staff meals are served in the restaurant and employees can stay after their shift to relax in the bar. At Zoku you can be yourself. The organisation is extremely simplified with a much less complex hierarchy. I was ready to give up GM positions after the difficulties I encountered during the Covid, but Zoku made me change my mind."