The architect Chafik Gasmi has worked with major luxury houses (Dior, Givenchy, Guerlain, Kenzo, Vuitton…), he was notably artistic director of Sephora (Lvmh) then Baccarat and more recently retail design for Lancôme.
In 2004, he founded his own studio, Chafik Studio, where he leads projects combining luxury and ecology. He shares with us his thoughts on the evolution of the sector’s boutiques.
You’ve designed boutique concepts for some of the biggest luxury houses. What are the new trends you see emerging in this universe ?
As an architect, we usually look 20 years ahead. And the fundamental trend I’ve been sensing for some time is that of the convergence of uses. Just like what happened with the Smartphone, grouping multiple functions, it should be the same in transit places, destined to become hybrids, at the same time store, restaurant, bar, museum, theater, hotel… These activities must no longer be satisfied with being adjacent but integrated into a unit of place. In this new scheme, it is the hotel, as it should exist, that should be the winner. Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, it already offers lodging, restaurants, workrooms, a boutique… Moreover, we no longer create juxtaposed and inert places with just a sufficient offer, but with a program, made up of animations, which can change every week, even day or even hour. This forces us to keep flexibility according to the current events. This evolution also raises the question of the training of employees who will no longer be confined to a single skill. Cross-functional roles (artistic, image, monitoring, human resources, training, etc.) will become increasingly important.
You have made the marriage between ecology and luxury your trademark. Is this still a distinctive element when all companies are now integrating sustainable development into their approach ?
I was a very happy art director (at Sephora, editor’s note) at Lvmh, but I wanted to set up my own studio so that I could practice my vocation, my profession as an architect, with the ecological dimension as an imperative. The first project was a bioclimatic and biodegradable hotel in the Algerian desert. Today, the ecological dimension is an imperative and the challenge is not that it is a distinctive element but on the contrary, that it becomes a fundamental element for everyone.
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Photo à la Une : © Chafik Gasmi / Stéphane de Bourgie