Villa M by Triptyque Architecture and Philippe Starck brings the tropics to Paris

Featuring vertical gardens that evoke the spirit of the Amazon through biophilic design, this mixed-use complex presents a new naturalist manifesto in the city of lights.

by Jerry ElengicalPublished on : May 10, 2022

"We designed Villa M as a naturalist architectural manifesto: that is, a building of a new era, where man is no longer opposed to nature and the living," state Olivier Raffaëlli and Guillaume Sibaud of Triptyque Architecture, in an official release. As a structure that transports the lush landscapes of the Amazon in Brazil to the urban context of Paris, Villa M is a new mixed use complex realised in collaboration with celebrated French designer Philippe Starck on Boulevard Pasteur in the borough of Montparnasse, France. Contradicting paradigms of traditional Parisian architecture with an exterior scheme that overflows with an abundance of greens, the building’s design is an explicit attempt to bring nature back to the city of lights, channelling an approach rooted in biophilic design.

  • The structure is located on Boulevard Pasteur in the Parisian borough of Montparnasse | Villa M | Triptyque Architecture + Philippe Starck | STIRworld
    The structure is located on Boulevard Pasteur in the Parisian borough of Montparnasse Image: Michael Denancé
  • Medicinal herbs, perennials, and fruit trees dress the building's façade, channelling a tropical take on biophilic design | Villa M | Triptyque Architecture + Philippe Starck | STIRworld
    Medicinal herbs, perennials, and fruit trees dress the building's façade, channelling a tropical take on biophilic design Image: Michael Denancé

However, despite its lively façade design, the actual underlying skin supporting the vertical garden is relatively light and austere in its profile. Exhibiting a decidedly minimalist appearance, the building’s 'exoskeleton', as described by the architects, is composed of a prefabricated metallic structure with a regular grid-like rhythm that complements the seemingly disordered assortment of plants dressing it. Conceptualised to host medicinal herbs, fruit trees, and moderately-sized perennials within its beam assembly, the building’s exterior is expected to transform over time as “the vertical garden will grow and occupy the entire façade, turning the building into a vertical, medicinal forest, and becoming the defining feature of its architecture,” according to Olivier Raffaelli of the French-Brazilian architecture practice.

  • Beneath the lush blanket of vegetation is a prefabricated metallic structure that exhibits a decidedly minimalist profile | Villa M | Triptyque Architecture + Philippe Starck | STIRworld
    Beneath the lush blanket of vegetation is a prefabricated metallic structure that exhibits a decidedly minimalist profile Image: Michael Denancé
  • The design has been presented as a new naturalist manifesto in the urban sphere | Villa M | Triptyque Architecture + Philippe Starck | STIRworld
    The design has been presented as a new naturalist manifesto in the urban sphere Image: Press distribution

In this vein, the structure has been presented as a 'living' building - one that undergoes changes and phases that bear strong parallels to those experienced by organic life forms. Eroding the architectural barriers that have delineated the conflict between humanity and nature in the urban sphere, the design strives to "create a new pact between cities, nature, and health," as per the architects. The green envelope also serves to reduce heat gain and subsequent energy demands, adding a component of sustainable design to the project. “We have explored all of the available surfaces to potentialise the greenery and to avoid energy and carbon waste," notes Guillame Sibaud in a press release.

  • Triptyque Architecture sought to create a new pact between cities, nature, and health through the project | Villa M | Triptyque Architecture + Philippe Starck | STIRworld
    Triptyque Architecture sought to create a new pact between cities, nature, and health through the project Image: Michael Denancé
  • The biophilic façade is a departure from traditional Parisian buildings in its vicinity | Villa M | Triptyque Architecture + Philippe Starck | STIRworld
    The biophilic façade is a departure from traditional Parisian buildings in its vicinity Image: Yann Monel

Under the 8,000 sqm program specified by the clients - Thierry Lorente, General Director of Groupe Pasteur Mutualité and Amanda Lehmann, Deputy General Director of the organisation - the mixed-use structure hosts co-working spaces, a healthcare-focused centre, a restaurant, bar, conference and check up areas, a showroom for healthcare startups, and a hotel by French hospitality group Paris Society. "Villa M is a bubbling, honest, and warm place, where life is good and beautiful, and where it is good to live and eat well. Throughout the restaurant and the bar, fertile surprises, hidden places, and mental games arouse curiosity and guide the gaze of visitors, reminding them that intelligence is one of the most beautiful symptoms of humanity," shares Philippe Starck, who collaborated with Triptyque Architecture on the project, in a press statement.

  •  The mixed-use program incorporates a healthcare-focused centre, a restaurant, bar, coworking spaces, conference and check up areas, a showroom for healthcare startups, and a hotel | Villa M | Triptyque Architecture + Philippe Starck | STIRworld
    The mixed-use program incorporates a healthcare-focused centre, a restaurant, bar, coworking spaces, conference and check up areas, a showroom for healthcare startups, and a hotel Image: Press distribution
  • View of the lobby interior | Villa M | Triptyque Architecture + Philippe Starck | STIRworld
    View of the lobby interior Image: Press distribution

On striding into the building, visitors will be surrounded by an elegant interior design scheme that embraces the refined spirit of the French Riviera. A sculptural spiral staircase occupies part of the lobby. Additionally, the complex’s restaurant features an ambience that adheres to Paris Society's signature aesthetic, decorated with bookshelves, mismatched vintage furniture, inviting armchairs, and benches, with a noticeable emphasis on wood.

  • The restaurant at Villa M features an ambience that channels Paris Society's signature aesthetic | Villa M | Triptyque Architecture + Philippe Starck | STIRworld
    The restaurant at Villa M features an ambience that channels Paris Society's signature aesthetic Image: Press distribution
  • The complex also incorporates a boxing and fitness club as part of its wellness arm | Villa M | Triptyque Architecture + Philippe Starck | STIRworld
    The complex also incorporates a boxing and fitness club as part of its wellness arm Image: Press distribution

Within the hospitality arm of the project, the layout hosts 67 rooms and six suites, each of which has been implemented as a green space. While some extend into balconies and terraces, all feature natural colour schemes and warm contemporary furniture. Aside from this, the pinnacle of luxury within the design scheme comes in the form of the vast Pasteur Suite at the corner of the building's seventh floor, fitted with large bay windows, a double green terrace, and unhindered views of Paris' urban landscape. "The traveller must feel at home, in calm, soft, and maternal rooms, pleasant to live in, so that the human being is always at the heart of the Villa M concept,” mentions Starck. Crowning this segment of the program is the Villa M RoofTop - described by the designers as a suspended oasis that provides an unparalleled leisure experience. Wooden armchairs, wicker lamps, garlands guinguettes, and landscape design in the form of fruit trees and plants all play a role in crafting the space's exuberant atmosphere.

  • The RoofTop at Villa M has been described as a suspended oasis that provides an unparalleled leisure experience | Villa M | Triptyque Architecture + Philippe Starck | STIRworld
    The RoofTop at Villa M has been described as a suspended oasis that provides an unparalleled leisure experience Image: Press distribution
  • The hotel at Villa M hosts 67 rooms and 6 suites | Villa M | Triptyque Architecture + Philippe Starck | STIRworld
    The hotel at Villa M hosts 67 rooms and 6 suites Image: Yann Monel
  • Suite Pasteur at Villa M | Villa M | Triptyque Architecture + Philippe Starck | STIRworld
    Suite Pasteur at Villa M Image: Press distribution

Alternatively, under the wellness component of the program, the design incorporates all the amenities that typify a hotel of this stature, including a boxing and fitness club, as well as a yoga room, in addition to 20 open offices and coworking spaces. Having been designed prior to the pandemic, the building’s program attempts to open wellness and healthcare up to the city, to create more inclusive and deep rooted relationships between healthcare professionals and private citizens, with the aid of astute hospitality design. Guillaume Sibaud of Triptyque Architecture emphatically concludes,“Villa M is a model to imagine the city of the future. It is the new Parisian edifice.”

  • Section | Villa M | Triptyque Architecture + Philippe Starck | STIRworld
    Section Image: Courtesy of Triptyque Architecture
  • Façade Detail | Villa M | Triptyque Architecture + Philippe Starck | STIRworld
    Façade DetailImage: Courtesy of Triptyque Architecture

Project Details

Name: Villa M
Location: Montparnasse, Paris, France
Total Area: 8000 sqm
Year of Completion: 2021
Client: Groupe Pasteur Mutualité (Thierry Lorente, General Director of Groupe Pasteur Mutualité and Amanda Lehmann, deputy general director of Groupe Pasteur Mutualité).
Architectural Design: Olivier Raffaëlli & Guillaume Sibaud (Triptyque Architecture)
Architectural Design and Art director of Interior Spaces: Philippe Starck
Assistant to the Contracting Authority: SCPM Access, Guy Sanoian
Landscaping: Coloco, Pablo Giorgef
Building Company: Eiffage Construction

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