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La Salle de Sport A place to live, to discuss and to share

Text: Anne Bessaguet - Photos: Vincent Mercier

“To my way of thinking, personal challenge and kindness are the basis of sports, and they will be the basis of my new project.”

christine pourcelot, co-founder of la salle de sport

What was your first encounter with be-poles?

Christine Pourcelot

During one of my numerous trips to New York, I was walking around and looking at hotels.  I ended up at the NoMad. I felt very much at home in this setting that's part Baron Haussmann, part New York loft. I left with two names in mind: Garcia and Ricardou. And in 2016...

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In 2016, your paths crossed. But before we get to this, let's have a quick look at your own career.

Christine Pourcelot

Business school, followed by a stint at ENA. I was supposed to be preparing for an administrative position, but I've never been fond of people who think they are always right. I turned instead to the marketing department of Carrefour, a major retailer. I wasn't yet forty. Next, I joined Le Coq Sportif.

Sport can change the world.

CP

A sprint, in other words.

CHRISTINE POURCELOT

Yes, I quickly got financial and intellectual freedom. I invested in renewable energy and the rehabilitation of historical monuments. But sports were always in the background. It's part of who I am and what I believe in. I practice savate, and my husband, who is also an enthusiast, works for Adidas. My son rides horses. To my way of thinking, personal challenge and kindness are the basis of sports, and they will be the basis of my new project.

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Are you the only founder of “La Salle de Sport”?

CHRISTINE POURCELOT

No, we're three associates. We started looking a year and a half ago. Quite a struggle! And finally, a lessor chose our project. A former gallery, with 2000 m2 to refurbish. Thanks to the talent of Aymeric Foulon, a real pro in retail, and to Sandrine Retailleau, who formerly worked at Reebok, we found it rather easy to bring the SDS brand on board.

A belief, a place, an idea and partners: ready to start the adventure.

CHRISTINE POURCELOT

We then called for tender to appoint an architect. At that time, Aymeric and his friend, Antoine Ricardou were on a bicycle ride. Life is full of opportunities...

Without even having read the brief, Antoine gave his vision of the place.

CP

What did intrepid Antoine dare to say to you?

Christine POURCELOT

I can still hear the words:  “Trust me”. Without even having read the brief, Antoine gave his vision of the place. And this first vision is, almost exactly, what was finally created.

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But that never happens!

CHRISTINE POURCELOT

We also needed a team that's able to take charge of our constraints and needs. be-poles is a group of creators with an extra dose of soul. William, our graphics designer, is enthusiastic but always able to keep things under control. Antoine is what we can call a  “game changer”, just like Mimo and the team that worked on S.D.S.

Mimo dances six times a week, and Antoine works out every day—that counts too, doesn't it?

Christine Pourcelot

Yes, we share passions and values. Antoine has a goal in mind, but he lets us try out our own ideas. Together, we talk about cooperation and agreement. Feeling. Vision. Details.

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Is it possible to be alike and complementary?

CHRISTINE POURCELOT

Antoine draws what I write. He has convictions without certainties. He adapts with what I am and what I believe in.

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An extra bit of soul that can reinvent a gym...

christine pourcelot

For me, the gym is a place to live, to discuss and to share. Here, there are no self-service machines. CrossFit, boxing, cycling, yoga/pilates: you can exercise alone or in a small group under the supervision of a coach. If you need to lose forty pounds, you can do it through sharing and community. Hard hitters and battered women will find kindness and empathy.

What is a good coach?

christine pourcelot

Most certainly someone who has experienced much joy in life, perhaps even celebrity, and who is currently ready to give it back. We take great care in selecting our coaches.

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S.D.S. is a rather exclusive club...

christine pourcelot

Yes, it's a premium gym with 2,000 members who tend to be well-off. It's a closed environment, but one without an entrance fee. We don't want to be exclusive. A lesson with a coach costs 35 euros. We also welcome lots of kids through Ibrahim's association. He's one of our best boxing coaches.

Do you get feedback from your members?

christine pourcelot

Feedback on the athletic experience is perfect. Members feel valued by the place; they're at ease in the Social Club. The design contributes strongly to a feeling of belonging. People come looking for sports and sharing, but without noticing it, they come for the equipment, the openness and the space.

Behind locker no. 115, there was a compression by César.

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The origin of the place is incredible.

christine pourcelot

It used to be a museum. Did you know that the changing rooms are located in a former vault? Behind locker no. 115, there was a compression by César. If only because of this, we should include aesthetic values in our vision of the place.

This place exudes enthusiasm, life and aesthetics.

christine pourcelot

We sweat together to increase energy.

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Follow up with

A day in La Clusaz with ZAG

Our commitment? Preserve our playing field which is now threatened. We are responsible for the impact that we have on the mountain area.

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Smart delivery bike service

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