Hélène and François Touber are a couple of Parisians who are both thinkers and owners of 4 hotels in the French capital and another one in Siena, in Italy. During 2016, with their passion for architecture, they set off on a new adventure by acquiring the Zoology Institute in Bordeaux in order to renovate and transform it into a four-star hotel.
Since this building dates from the 19th century, their challenge was to bring a double approach to its architecture by blending the restoration of the old with a touch of modern decoration. The hotel can be divided into three wings — the first being no other than the period building itself, which thus reflects the very essence of the place. As for the other two, we discover a more contemporary style with wooden and glass structures, symbolizing Botany and Geology.
Hélène and François crossed paths with ibride for the first time in London when the couple happened to find a Junon goose in their son's flat. Intrigued by the the originality of the “Mobilier de Compagnie”, they paid a visit to ibride's stand at the “Maison & Objet” fair in Paris.
This first meeting with the brand's universe sparked off a plan for a piece of tailor-made furniture, designed especially by ibride, to welcome guests to the remarkable lobby of their hotel in Bordeaux.
« Un lien fort nous rapproche, celui de la confusion entre le règne animal et humain »
Carine Jannin, éditrice ibride
When Hélène contacted ibride in April 2018, the project was considered as an opportunity to work with people who were imbued with values similar to those of the company. As the Zoology Institute was originally a centre of science dedicated to the study of animals, the two universes seem to fit together nicely.
Benoît Convers se lance alors dans la conception de ce meuble d'accueil, mais très animé, le designer va plus loin.
Il conçoit deux sculptures de lion majestueuses destinées au perron de l'hôtel.
Il dessine une banque d’accueil de 5 mètres de long inspirée du mobilier du XIXe siècle, des sofas qui, coupés en deux, invitent au partage et des lampes d'extérieures pic bœuf.
The creations were then presented to Hélène and François as the result of the designer's understanding and analysis of the project. During this meeting, the couple replied favourably to all the designer's proposals, thus showing the importance of the mutual trust which pervaded all exchanges between the couple and the brand. Since respect and reciprocal appreciation are at the very heart of this relationship, ibride can enjoy a great freedom of creation.
The direct contacts between ibride and the couple made this relationship particularly special. Thanks to this complicity, Hélène and François wished to enlarge the project by asking the designers to propose a plan for the hotel bar, a showpiece of the premises. Once more, this project stimulated the creativity of Benoît Convers.
In carrying out this project, ibride broke new ground by using new materials, thus contributing to the personality of the building. Inspired by the infinite variety of textures and surfaces provided by nature, ibride endowed the premises with a tactile spectrum and a strong allusion-filled vocabulary by using numerous animal evocations.