40, rue de Sèvres
Well known to Parisians as the former Laennec Hospital until 2000, 40, rue de Sèvres in Paris’ 7th arrondissement is now home to Kering's and Balenciaga's head offices. Originally founded as the "Hospital for the incurables" in 1634, it was renamed "Hôpital Laennec" in 1878. In wanting to share its rich history, Kering decided to open the doors of its new head office.
On the same occasion, a contemporary art exhibition from the Pinault Collection was on display in the chapel which was built during the reign of Louis XIII.
Sunday 18th December
10am to 6pm
40, rue de Sèvres – Paris 7
Closest metros :
Vaneau (line 10), Sèvres-Babylone (lines 12 and 10), Duroc (line 13), Saint-Placide (line 4)
It was an ambitious challenge to undertake this atypical restoration project of the former Laennec Hospital. Thanks to its history, its stature and its simple beauty, this unique place in the heart of Paris has a soul. It reflects our identity as a luxury group, a Group ever-evolving which embodies an audacious form of luxury, free to make its own choices.
Chairman and CEO of Kering
A UNIQUE HISTORY AND ARCHITECTURE
Dedicated to caring for the poor for nearly 370 years following its establishment in 1634, the “Hospital for the incurables” was renamed “Hôpital Laennec” in 1878. It is part of the lineage of Paris’ great hospitals, which includes the Invalides and Salpêtrière, Laennec distinguishes itself through its sober architecture.
The 17,200 m² of the central buildings, located on either side of a chapel built during the reign of Louis XIII, now house Kering’s and Balenciaga’s offices.
The preliminary study of the renovation project, which was entrusted to Benjamin Mouton, Chief architect of France’s historical monuments, unveiled the unusual history of the site. The renovation was an immensely complex challenge: making the best of the premises while losing none of its original charm, recapturing its former beauty without erasing the rich history that saw it evolve over nearly four centuries. Furthermore, all this had to be done while respecting the historically classified status of certain elements, such as the chapel, and ensuring that the entire area could accommodate a working environment in line with contemporary expectations and requirements.
After ten years of study and three years of work, the former hospice has been restored to its historic appearance and has taken on new roles that will now help safeguard its existence.
Chief architect of France's historic monuments
Respect for modernity and stringent environmental standards – a concern that underpins Kering’s entire strategy and business approach – is also reflected in the project’s compliance with the highest standards of environmental protection. Fitted with the latest in working comfort and technology, 40, rue de Sèvres is among the first historical monuments to be awarded the French HQE1 environmental label.
In order to adhere as closely as possible to the range of plant life available in 17th and 18th century Europe, but also to recapture the quasi-religious atmosphere that used to characterise these gardens – half vegetable plots, half places for contemplation – Raguin opted for a simple and serene approach featuring soft colours. The resulting gardens exude a certain serenity and calm all year round, drawn from this fairly austere approach.
When I began to work on the site around five years ago, what struck me the most was seeing this sort of tiny jewel emerging, an extraordinary space that seemed to exist outside of Paris itself. The city is right on our doorstep and yet we are in another place where all is calm and silent. A garden is always the result of a joint effort. The peacefulness that emanates from these gardens no doubt brought us together and helped us in succeeding to restore the gardens to their former glory.