Portfolio : Retail Facilities

AREP develops its expertise in different types of contemporary retailing: urban retail stores such as those in Saint-Lazare railway station; shops on the ground level of buildings like those in Troyes; and, finally, off-centre retail developments such as the retail parks in Salaise, Seclin or Agen.
Heart of Paris Saint-Lazare Train Station | (c) SNCF - AREP - Mathieu Lee Vigneau

Each one of these typologies meets specific needs. Urban retail stores form stopoff points naturally located on passenger flows. They bring the city, its services and wealth to people and contribute to the paradox of modern life which sees increasingly mobile city dwellers waiting for the city to come to them, thus making life easier. Shops on the ground level of buildings are part of those public spaces that play a structuring role for the city. And finally, suburban retail areas reflect the reality of an increasing demand because they are, in general, more easily accessed by and offer a greater variety to residents of suburban areas.


In AREP, we work on all the typologies of retail facilities with the aim to create a better “living together” in these busy places. Crowd presence does not always have negative effects but can be part of the pleasure experienced in certain urban spaces, such as cafe terraces or market places. By designing legible and accessible retail facilities, we design pleasant, welcoming and functional spaces.


Unlike urban stores, the suburban shopping centres are not part of a continuous urban fabric. Our priority in this case is to create public spaces bringing to mind villages where all commercial activity is organised around squares, trade fairs or some central streets. We are increasingly requested to design mixed-use spaces (housing, services and different types of amenities) around this type of retail facilities, in France and abroad. Even if it remains dominant, commercial activity is then only a component of the urban space we produce. We pay particular attention in assessing vehicle and pedestrian movement schemes leading to the shops. Car park facilities bring to mind well planted gardens where visitors can leave their vehicles before reaching exclusively pedestrian areas: calm and safe spaces where they can purchase goods but also eat, rest, have fun or take the time to meet other people.