Vêtements Weill, a pioneer of the French ready-to-wear industry, is under-going a major brand upgrade. With several departments relocated outside Paris, the company needed to reconsider the use of the extra space. Our challenge was threefold: to increase the building’s cost efficiency by redistributing its 5,000 square metres between the Weill offices and the retail store and by creating a number of leasable commercial spaces; to reinforce the brand image through a new architectural identity, and to adapt the building’s vertical circulations to comply with contemporary standards of accessibility and fire safety.
We suggested placing the headquarters itself on the two upper floors, originally intended for production workshops. Generously daylit and boasting a view of the Sacré Coeur Basilica, they become the prime location in the entire building. Faithfully restaured street façades conceal the courtyard, the heart of the building where the main architectural action unfolds. A curtain wall in glass and architectural bronze creates a new sense of unity and ensures efficient thermal insulation.
The building’s industrial character is highlighted by the exposed original brick and metal structure; the tall windows of the curtain wall, up to 4 metres in height, echo the scale of the full-height openings in the brick façade. A timber structure connects the glass and brick walls and clings to the inner windows to penetrate inside the building where it evolves from a simple window board on the lower floors to full-fledged furniture items: storage elements, seating and display units.