LE GÉNÉRAL HOTEL
Le Général stands just a short way from the Place de la République, between the marais and the canal saint-martin, and has for ten years been a reference among hotels. Jean-Philippe Nuel, who had brought it to life a decade ago, has designed for it a completely new, bespoke universe.
Le Général has always been an establishment that reflects the times in which it has lived: it expresses the values of generations in search of social cohesion, of which the area of the place de la république is highly symbolic. In his design, Jean-Philippe Nuel wished to accentuate this permanent search for a social connection, a desire to escape from the anonymity of the traveller and to offer him or her the possibility of living in symbiosis with the city or a particular area of it. in this way, le général becomes a common space in the manner of a large apartment brought to life by those who live in and share it, who either meet or retire to their private spaces as the mood takes them throughout the daily cycle.
Life at Le Général is fun: people meet each other, chat, share experiences over a glass and leave traces of their stay behind them – in a polaroid photograph perhaps, a word or two scribbled on a blackboard or in a note left in the letter box in the lobby.
On entering Le Général, there is an entirely open space – the traditional barrier of the reception desk is notable by its absence, and the guest immediately feels at home. In this colourful environment in which designer objects rub shoulders with furniture found in markets the eye is attracted to a mass of detail – the photos on the walls, the patterns of the rugs, the record player and its discs, the books on the shelves and the inscribed pillars – as if, on each passage through the room, everyone has left behind something personal which, little by little has built the character of the space. Le Général invites each visitor to leave a personal mark – it could be something written on a pillar, or perhaps a book or an object left on the shelves to be shared with others or to be found again on a future visit. Skateboards, arranged as works of art by the artist Chris Calvet, and two Martone bicycles illustrate the link between the hotel and its urban environment, and serve as an invitation to escape among the Parisian streets! Everyone can draw his own idea of a walk on a large blackboard, inviting others to join him, if he wishes, and a large map shows various different routes for the visitor to try.
The bar is an open extension of the lobby and is designed as a lively communal kitchen with large metal tables (designed by Jean-Philippe Nuel) at which guests may connect their tablet or computer, nibble something or have a glass, alone or chatting with friends. On the wall the word AMOUR (love, of course!), in giant letters found in a flea market, forms a signature – a backdrop recognisable by everyone for a selfie or other photos which immortalise a shared moment of joy. Every evening, from 7 to 8 pm, the team of Le Général invites guests to have a glass of champagne, so they might share a moment of conviviality and conversation.
Suite International, 182, November/December 2016
Designer: JEAN-PHILIPPE NUEL