Architect, urban planner and designer, Jean-Michel Wilmotte inspired the auditorium with his constructions and projects, demonstrating his desire to infuse our daily lives with beauty.
Please share some of your feelings about the major changes happening in the hotel industry in recent years.
A major revolution is underway. I remember hotels where one had to wait in line for check-in, and worse than that there was a line for check-out as well. Hotels were functional. They had a lobby, rooms and a breakfast room. No charm. They were accommodations factories. And then things evolved. Some chains began to diversify. I think that we are moving from anonymous functionality at hotels to hotels where atmosphere, personality and the location’s identity find their way in. Each property is no longer an infinitely cloned hotel, but rather an individual adaptation to setting. A hotel is like a home port. When someone enters a hotel, they like to pick up their habits, do things that are familiar to them. We offer new possibilities: work spaces, services they didn’t have before. There are, of course, technological innovations: now it is possible to control lighting. Moreover, health, fitness and sports are gaining importance further to high demand. I think clientele are now quite accustomed to all that is beautiful. There is a great deal of communication in terms of decoration and interior design. People are much better informed. When they enter a hotel, they want to participate in this experience.
Commentaries about striking images:
“I would start with the Lutetia which is a hotel that will truly open up in September. It is symbolic. It will be the first palace on the Left Bank. 20,000 m², four years of work. We excavated 17 meters into the ground to create a swimming pool. We chose natural wood harmonies, with a nod to 1910, the year the building was built. An important aspect at the Lutetia is the fact that we eliminated a ballroom to create a garden. We will rediscover Belle Epoque decorations, with mosaics and many period pieces.”
Façade of the Lutetia | Credit: Mathieu Fiol
The architect also shared images of the architectural restructuring of the Mandarin Oriental and the Villa Maïa and the renovations of the Hôtel de Nell, of the White 1921, of La Réserve and of La Résidence La Pinène. Moreover, projects were highlighted such as the extension of the Relais de Chambord, the construction of the Mama Shelter Porte de Versailles, the transformation into a hotel of the former parking garage of France’s daily paper Libération, and a project that he is particularly proud of: the imbalanced building of the Vista la Cigale, with its unusual codes.
Vista la Cigale | Credit: Wilmotte & Associés Architectes
Regarding Mama Shelter Porte de Versailles, Jean-Michel Wilmotte declared : “It is a real showstopper. The building will be built for Serge Trigano and it will become a Mama Shelter. It is interesting because it is at Porte de Versailles and also near the Paris ring road. Mama Shelter always seeks out borderline locations. Works on the building are underway and it will be delivered in two years.”
Mama Shelter Portes de Versailles | Credit: Wilmotte & Associés Architectes
Do you have any concluding words for sector professionals?
“Hospitality professionals de have a great deal of responsibility. I think that a foreigner visiting Paris or the provinces is looking for a certain level of service. All hospitality professionals are ambassadors of France. They have a major responsibility regarding the services they offer: from the first smile to the quality of mattresses. They are a whole. I think it is the best proof of a French reception. During travel three things are memorable, and the hotel is one of them. The hotel’s creators and operators are France’s ambassadors.”
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