Haussmann Paris smartens up its territory
Little brass dots
She sets the stage, “One year or maybe one and a half year ago, the Committee clarified their intention to deploy the Haussmann Paris name in the Grands Magasins area, to customize the perimeter and act like a brand, a brand that could be identified by all of the neighborhood’s visitors”. Sandra Jorge, who studied to be an interior designer and graduated from the prestigious école Boule, is used to working on the spaces outside the shopping malls operated by Eurocommercial Properties – which runs, among others, the Passage du Havre. With her team, she stars working on the project and an idea quickly stands out from the others : “to act directly on Paris’s street furniture”. “It was my first time working on street furniture, she confesses, but I had already conceived benches, seats, shelters…” And so Ms Jorge and her team offer to put the “Haussmann Paris” logo on the bollards and barriers that protect the area’s sidewalks, thanks to small brass plates.
An idea that addresses the objectives defined by Haussmann Paris in the first place, as she recalls: “what we needed first and foremost was a sober and extremely efficient project, simple from scratch to finish”. A simplicity requirement justified by the Boulevard Haussmann environment. “The street furniture drowns in a flow of information, points out Sandra Jorge, and it’s particularly true in that neighborhood, saturated with marketing and commercial signs. That’s why we pushed forwards these little dots on the urban furniture”. Little dots, or rather little brass plates engraved with “Haussmann Paris” and fixated at the center of the barriers often known as bearing the shape of saint Andrew’s cross (i.e. shaped like an “x”) or blown to take the shape of the bollard’s round heads. Why ornate these elements in particular? Because they’re recurring in the urban environment, but also because “we need to be immediately visible and speak to the many pedestrians who walk these streets, whether they’re just walking by or shopping in the pedestrian streets”.
An original “identity gesture”
An approach “without artifices” which settles in the rich architectural environment of the Haussmann area without acting as a parasite for the many messages sent by its many storefronts. A total of a hundred barriers and the same number of bollards will be replaced with the help of Sotralinox, a company specialized in the transformation of noble metals in Bréviandes, in the Aube area of Eastern France. After 8 weeks of pressing and a final greenlight given by Delphine Bürkli, mayor of Paris’ 9th arrondissement, it was time to fix the plates. “They can be dismantled, clarifies Sandra Jorge, but it’s not like anybody could leave with one. It was part of the specifications given by City Hall, because the street furniture doesn’t belong to the Haussmann Paris Committee or even to the 9th Arrondissement city council, but to Paris’s Central City Hall”.
As the attention of the “consuming passerby” now spurs growth more than ever, Haussmann Paris takes the liberty of an “identity gesture, who isn’t trying to steer or catch a stream of attention”. A complimentary gesture? Almost, even if it helps tourists to identify immediately which neighborhood they’re in, and passersby to understand that the Haussmann neighborhood isn’t a neighborhood like any other. How can its efficiency be measured, though? To answer the question, Sandra Jorge prefers to remind everybody that what matters is really beyond that: “we’ll know if we were efficient or not if people in surrounding neighborhoods decide to do the same thing”.
Before inspiring others, Haussmann Paris will set new plates in its perimeter, all the way to the Orange store on Rue Halévy, before the end of the year.
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