We partnered with a young hotelier couple to reinvigorate their Left Bank hotel, a first step on their road to expansion.
From Paris to the world
Located in the 5th arrondissement of Paris, a few steps away from the Panthéon, the Sorbonne University and the Luxembourg Gardens, the Cujas Panthéon Hotel was a quaint, 48-room neighbourhood hotel. Hoteliers Aurélien and Tiana Armagnac invited us to join their team to create a truly innovative concept to coincide with an ambitious refitting that brings modernity to this sometimes museum-like neighbourhood. The objective was for French Theory to become a hub for the new Parisian cultural scene, from music and street art to literature and fashion. The new property is set to be the first in a series of openings, in Europe and beyond.
Live creative moments
Home to some of Europe’s oldest universities and a legendary literary tradition, the 5th arrondissement of Paris used to be known as the creative lighthouse of the Western world. Unfortunately, most tourist spots are happy to capitalise on the area’s past glory, instead of investing in its future. Everyone involved in the project could see the potential for French Theory to go far beyond being yet another hotel. Instead, it would become a place of creation, a canvas for the new Parisian creative scene. As a result, French Theory is positioned as a place where guests and locals can “live creative moments”, new experiences that enliven every part of the property, from bedroom to basement.
From theory to practice
The idea for the name “French Theory” came from a French philosophical movement that started in the 5th arrondissement in the 60s and soon became popular in global academic circles– all the while remaining almost unknown in France. Building on this simple idea, a team of designers, artists and hospitality experts set out to give it shape and meaning. The elitist vibe was offset with humour and wit, poking fun at French cultural stereotypes while celebrating new forms of creativity. This was translated into a new brand tone of voice and editorial line, as well as the copywriting for the website. A series of “theories” were created, small snippets of text that parody serious academic theories, to be used on social media. The zoning of the public space was also redesigned, with new operating concepts for the key outlets. For instance, the audio lab is a place dedicated to music. Visitors can listen to vinyls, watch music documentaries or book the recording studio. In the rooms, artists were invited to design unique prints, some of which can be bought in the Botanical Room concept store.
A dream team to launch the brand
The interior design of French Theory was left in the hands of award-winning Parisian studio CUT architecture, with Violaine & Jérémy, an up-and-coming duo of graphic designers, in charge of the visual identity. CUT developed a practical and stylish modular interior design concept while Violaine & Jérémy created bespoke fonts and illustrations to give French Theory an unmistakable style. French Theory opened in late 2019 and is now fully operational, welcoming culturally curious guests from all over the world.