To make the project reality, major renovations had to be carried out, lasting nearly two years
The long-haul effort was headed by the founder of Les Halles de la Major, Antoine Siffrein-Blanc, and project architect, Sophie Foillard. The protracted renovation period, which started in December 2013 under construction company EGBTP, was divided into different stages.
The first was dedicated to connecting up the two vaults, and carving generously-sized openings in the 2-metre thick walls.
The site’s complexity (almost no air exchange with the outside) ultimately turned out a source of inspiration, as the project’s architects came up with two stairway shafts to interconnect the two levels and – by the same token – foster smoke extraction.
To amplify the upward calling, a massive vertical wall coated in aged bronze by Marius Aurenti and implemented by decorating firm Caramel, contributed to the vintage spirit.
The two large convex volumes, set against the vaults on the first story, partially hide the technical infrastructures; what remains visible is the system devised with the help of Crudeli: sleekly-designed micro-perforated ducts convey cooled air, but are also as many elements of the interior architecture.
As to the interior design, the ground floor area features islet-shaped stalls, around which plenty of space has been left for visitors to ramble and explore. Upstairs, the eye is immediately drawn to a vast, unencumbered expanse (the stalls being at the edges) that can accommodate up to 200 people. The vintner’s shop was intentionally designed to potentially open onto this area and thus host wine-tasting sessions around the islet. The shop segues into a wine bar on the mezzanine level, which offers a cosy and inviting area also open to DJs during reception times.
As to the project’s technical fact sheet, we worked with cooling systems company Provence Froid, to equip Les Halles de la Major with the best and most effective technical solutions, and with electrician Christophe Amiet (EMC) and lighting artist Thomas Laperouse (Mise en Scène), and developed a light-swathed atmosphere essential to creating the warm environment we wanted for Les Halles de la Major, while also showing off our outstanding product offer to its best advantage.
Lastly, the stalls were all designed in aged wood, as were the custom-designed furnishings; together with the bamboo-treated flooring (Prato Meuble) they form an interlocking sequence of contrasting materials, inserted between large anthracite slabs. The overall atmosphere makes a strong final statement through the furniture selected: working with Stéphanie, Atelier 159, we made sure to choose furniture that would reflect the spirit of authenticity we chose to adopt for this unique venue.