3 Questions for . . . Jean-Luc Baillet Executive Director, Carreau du Temple

After being closed for six years, the Carreau du Temple, located between the Place de la République and the Upper Marais area, will open its doors the same time as Paris Fashion Week (March 2014). It’s no coincidence. It’s a political strategy to establish this neighbourhood landmark as a perfect showcase for young designers.

The Carreau du Temple can welcome up to 3,000 people. Can you tell us what its role will be?

It will be a one-of-a-kind space. There is no other structure in Paris or even in France with the mission of hosting community events that include amateur sports, large-scale and private events, fashion shows, trade shows, fairs, and a calendar of artistic and cultural programs. The Carreau will also include a bar and restaurant area so people can come visit and enjoy this new multi-purpose public space in the middle of Paris.

Making this space available to young designers is one of your priorities. Can you explain why?

Because it’s part of the building’s history and DNA. From its beginning in 1862 until the end of the century it housed women’s fashion accessories. In the 20th century it grouped dozens of boutiques and hundreds of leather and fur specialists, mostly from the neighbourhood’s large Jewish community. From the end of the 90s until 2008, the number of small businesses dropped and the Carreau was a place for fashion shows by the big houses like Dior and Givenchy. Fashion follows a natural progression, and that includes the necessity of financial health (laughs). Our business plan states that 60 percent of our budget should come from sales revenues. And fashion is clearly part of that. In fact, we hope that we can be a host to Parisian Fashion Week’s six different sessions (women, men and couture twice yearly). This facet of the project will begin in 2015.

To establish the space in a “fashion” context, you worked with several institutions, including the FFPAPF. Why did you use this tactic, and how did it play out?

We are not fashion industry professionals so we needed their expertise, network and ideas. It made sense for me to go to the industry’s two leading organizations.

The Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture was the obvious contact for fashion shows. Discussions with the Fédération Française du Prêt à Porter Féminin began with the last president. We all shared the same vision: using the Carreau du Temple to create a new fashion district outside of the 8th arrondissement’s ‘golden triangle’. The area between Place de la République and the Upper Marais is already considered trendy and a centre for design and art galleries. We are now ready to sign a convention that should establish the Carreau as a space dedicated to design and creativity. That’s all I can say today, but we’ll be working on it in the near future. It’s in everyone’s best interest to plan together; and we all share the common goal of promoting young designers and artists. I needed to join forces with the most competent entities in the field, and now we are working as a team.

THE CARREAU DU TEMPLE IN FIGURES:

Closed for 6 years

€60 million investment (total operation: excavation, construction, project management)

3,000 person standing capacity

20 – 25 jobs created

Closed 5 weeks per year

Expected to close 1 day per week

1,800m2 underground space with

2,200m2 ground floor with

25, 26 and 27 April: opening weekend with the public invited to discover the Carreau du Temple’s diverse activities, disciplines and spaces with ‘The body from every angle’ ‘Le Corps sous toutes ses coutures’ program.

For more information:

www.carreaudutemple.eu