Paris Saint-Germain rocked the world of football when they signed Neymar Jr. from Barcelona in the summer of 2017 for a world record transfer fee. Their project to compete at the highest levels of football began much earlier when, in 2011, they decided to improve the facilities for their fans.  Faced with the choice of building a new stadium or renovating the existing one, the owners gave Tom Sheehan Architects the opportunity to transform the interior of the main stand and so change the public’s perception of the building.

Tom Sheehan, through coupling his Californian heritage with his 30 years’ experience working in France, sought to create a powerful mixture of ambience and character for the interior whilst supporting the Club’s ambition to have a strong Parisian identity.  Tom likened the project to architectural archaeology – “only by looking closely at the old concrete structure which had not been touched for over 40 years could we understand the opportunities for creating a modern, vibrant environment for the stadium, we needed to dig deep to find the right solutions”.

Prepainted cladding was the essential tool to help Tom and his team exploit the space that was available to him because of the confines of the existing stadium structure.

The result of all this work are stunning new interior spaces which provide the hospitality for the VIP fans; it can also be used a meeting venue for business events.  It is a design that respects the history of the stadium whilst creating new spaces and experiences that meet the expectations of today’s discerning fans.

Tom has implemented an innovative design that segments the entrance on a vertical axis not the traditional horizontal axis used in many other stadia.  The design provides a single-entry space for the guests who, once inside the building, can move to any part of the interior and enjoy the state-of-the art facilities now on offer.  The atrium itself, contains six escalators to facilitate the flow of guests to the different levels. As you move further into the building, the client experiences change through the use of different light levels, colours and themes.

Prepainted aluminium in the form of RAL 9010 high gloss Mirawall panels (from Miralu) were the material of choice for this refurbishment.  These panels gave the architects the design freedom they needed to create the interior space.  The quality of the surface finish provided the modern, aesthetic, and neutral background that they were after to transform the look of the space.  Over 8,000 sq. metres of cladding were used for the different Club lounges, restaurants, galleries, cloakrooms and walkways throughout the stand.

The overall refurbishment took 30 months to complete as work was carried out during the summer or winter breaks in order to keep the stadium fully operational and at maximum capacity.  The project was completed on-time and the stadium was ready to host five of the games of the EURO 2016 tournament.  The design has been very well received by the fans and Paris Saint-Germain are now able to entertain 5000 VIP guests on match days; each one able to enjoy the facilities and, of course, the entertainment provided by Neymar Jr. and the team.  

Photo credit: Mathieu Ducros / Opictures, images courtesy of ATSP