Hôtel Shangri-La Paris
The Shangri-La Hotel Paris is more like a hôtel particulier than a 5 Star palace. The original building, historic home of Prince Roland Bonaparte, was realised in the eclectic style of the 1890s by the architect Janty. The original interiors were treated in the classical spirit of the 18th century with elements borrowed from the 19th. The building itself is inspired by French rationalism, with a metal frame and stone facades decorated with classical mouldings.
From the beginning of this project, we had applied ourselves to the task of restoring those parts of the original building still intact, and developing extensions respecting the original architecture. The facades along the garden have been treated as extensions of the existent, with stone carved motifs and decorations. The structure of glass and metal houses a panoramic suite that offers breath-taking views of the Seine ; it is treated in a contemporary manner, consistent with the architectural composition of the building of 1895. The metallic structure above the restaurant La Bauhinia, whose original function was to suspend the false ceiling of an auditorium, was reclassified to allow create a glass canopy and bring transparency to this area, which was a courtyard in the original building. We have carefully restored some of the interiors such as the many lounges. The passage cocher has regained its typical paving, its caretaker’s house and a canopy of glass and wrought iron. The landscaped treatment orchestrated by Louis Benech sublimates these spaces.
The creative challenge for the project was to maintain an obvious link with the original historical building and its context – Paris 1895, the Exposition Universelle – while creating a new setting in which to host a palace of the 21st century.
Reutilisation and reinterpretation as a source of creation: it is within the very process of restoring that lies the potential for creating new patterns, new ways of living the architecture. Everything is based on the principle that each restoration is an interpretation. In each interpretation, whatever the subject – architecture, theatre – lies the seed of a new creative project.