25 years after the tower was built, the infrastructure of Tour Esplanade was no longer up to the latest standards. Within one year the stylistic vocabulary of this once model skyscraper in the Parisian service industry and banking district La Défense was brought back up to scratch.

By paying particular attention to flexible interior concepts and sustainable resources, it was even able to attract the French Ministry of Ecology as one of its tenants. Looking out from the Louvre and the Tuileries Garden, the silhouettes of the skyscrapers in La Défense stand delineated on the horizon far beyond the Arc de Triomphe – a visible sign that the pulsing business heart of France has now moved out of the capital city centre and into the periphery.

The Tour Esplanade, designed by French architects Andrault & Parat, rises up in the direct vicinity of the Centre des nouvelles industries et technologies (CNIT) co-designed by Jean Prouvé, the Grande Arche and the Place de la Défense, in a central location in the city’s financial and service industry district. Standing 36 storeys high, this office tower was erected in 1990, around the same time as the Grande Arche – the abstract equivalent of the city’s Arc de Triomphe. The emblematic architecture of this tower has become a symbol of the transition between the third and fourth generations of office skyscrapers in La Défense. Its construction method set the standard for a whole series of other buildings in the same district, even if nowadays, with its height of “only” 105

metres, it is towered over by many next-generation edifices. The curving, southeast-facing façade allows for natural lighting in the interior of the building and permits the gaze to roam as far afield as Paris city centre, which is located a full ten kilometres away. The 53,600 square metres of floor space in the Tour Esplanade accom modate not only office space and the relevant utilities, but also a sports centre, a restaurant, several conference halls and an adjoining auditorium. What tipped the scales in favour of these renovations were the expectations that modern office infrastructures have to live up to and a desire to replace the rigid internal spatial arrangement with more flexible office concepts.

As well as replacing the existing heating and air-conditioning technology, what was particularly important to the architects was to substitute the entire lighting technology with contemporary LEDs. Tour Esplanade is thus the first building in the district completely equipped with LEDs – the lighting planners at EGIS arranged nearly 9,000 luminaires from the TRILUX ranges Athenik and Inviso on the premise of creating a working atmosphere that is as pleasant and motivating as possible for its users.

Project information

  • Location:
    La Défense, Paris, FR
  • Client:
    Tishman Speyer France, Paris, FR
  • Architects:
    SRA, Pierre-Yves De Bernardi, Châtillon, FR
  • Lighting planners:
    EGIS, Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, FR
  • Photos:
    Guillaume Guerin, Paris, FR