The city of Tours, capital of the Loire Valley, extends over a strip of land between the two banks of the Loire and Cher rivers, prime tourist destination owing to its beautiful castles immersed in the lush French countryside. Tours is, today, a crossroads for major highways and railways, which have fostered over time a significant commercial and industrial development.
It is within this context that Les Atlantes, a shopping center of approximately 40,000 m2, plays an important role as part of a major infrastructural hub in the southeastern outskirts of the city.
The project concerns an extensive renovation of the shopping mall's interior spaces, in particular the false ceilings, shop fronts and floors. Given the strong link with the territory and its resources, the project takes its inspiration from local forms, materials, and colors. The pavement, for example, is of quartz agglomerate slabs. It brings to mind the meandering of the nearby Loire River with a color spectrum ranging from sandy beige to bluegrass hues.
The continuous shop fronts are interspersed with three covered plazas whose large roofs, partly in stained glass, have been redesigned using materials and colors which emphasize the natural light flooding the interiors. The existing skylights continue to reinforce the concept of natural light as a design protagonist, they allow the visitor to gaze up and out, therefore maintain a direct relationship with the natural agents and seasons. Re-designed entrances allow for a greater transparency from inside out.
Most of the restaurants face the central square, hence, making it the heart of the shopping center. Here a fountain, following the design motif found in the floor, along with green chairs and space dividers, give a greater sense of intimacy to this central area within the larger gallery space. Now that the intervention is completed, new renters have been attracted to the mall; further interventions regarding the restyling of the façade and parking facilities, will permit this mall to be once again a dynamic shopping center.