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PUBLISHED ON 29 MARCH 2018
The independent French group, which already has 8 establishments throughout France, is rethinking its product for its next openings, and giving the floor to a new team of decorators
According to Olivier Devys, continual innovation is the key to a brand's success. It is therefore only natural that he has chosen to mark the launch of the next generation of the OKKO HOTELS concept with the opening of the chain's Paris Gare de l'Est hotel in the spring of 2019, just 4 years after the public unveiling of its very first establishment.
Studio Catoir has been chosen for its elegant yet audacious proposal, which both embodies and enhances the unique DNA that makes OKKO HOTELS stand out as a brand.
Olivier Devys, President and Founder, and his daughter Solenne, Product and Communications Manager, reflect on the chain’s latest strategic development.
Why this change now, barely four years on from the opening of your first hotel?
Olivier Devys :
I spent a large part of my career at a big hotel group, and there was one thing that always ate away at me: when we noticed that a particular product had passed its shelf life, it was unfortunately the case right across the board, even at the latest hotel that had only been opened six months previously. That made it a colossal task, demoralising even. I realised then that, whatever it took, we had to reduce the life cycle of the product. In the same way as there are several versions of the same car model in the automobile industry, we had to be able to consistently redesign the OKKO HOTELS product in order to avoid our consumers growing weary of what we were offering.
On the other hand, when we opened the first OKKO hotel back in 2014, I felt that we had stolen a march on the French hotel market. But since then, plenty of other lifestyle concepts have been launched, so it has become essential for us to refresh our approach to innovation in order to stay one step ahead.
Finally, I like the idea of the OKKO HOTELS concept - which has always been a particularly strong concept - giving rise to different aesthetic interpretations, different visions.
Who is going to take over from Studio Patrick Norguet and how will this second generation of hotels differ from the first?
Solenne Devys :
The work of Patrick Norguet and his team on the first generation gave OKKO HOTELS its resolutely contemporary feel, while also imbuing it with an elegant and timeless quality. The fact that Patrick is a designer above all else meant that he also injected a healthy dose of audacity and freshness, which the hotel industry badly needed. By leaving him to express himself, we managed to come up with a product that really tore up the traditional hotel rulebook.
While finalising the brief for the second generation of hotels, we read and re-read through thousands of comments received from our customers. What really stood out from that exercise was that, while our rooms may be perfect for a single person staying at the hotel, they are less well suited for a couple. And that's precisely what impressed us about Studio Catoir's work: it’s a couple's approach that simultaneously sees things from a male and female perspective. We were also taken by their ability to integrate a functional dimension within their work, all the while infusing it with a touch of sophistication and poetry.
Finally, beyond the decor itself, we wanted to redesign our product in order to introduce certain technological innovations and to keep making progress from a sustainable development perspective.
When will we be able to see these changes for ourselves?
Olivier Devys :
The first of our second generation of hotels will open in the Paris Gare de l'Est railway station in the spring of 2019. This is a strategic project for our group: our first hotel in the centre of Paris, within a railway station no less, featuring a garden on its roof belonging to the Mairie de Paris. It really is an especially audacious and innovative project, and as such a wonderful opportunity to launch this new generation.