Picture of a Paris newspaper kiosk next to métro Jacques Bonsergent. Photo: Anna Sansom 

Matali Crasset reworks unpopular designs for new Paris newspaper kiosks following petition

Paris, July 2016

July 2016

The Haussmannien-inspired newspaper kiosks in Paris are one of its characteristic, vernacular features, as recognisable as the art nouveau metro entrances. A furore has broken out over the Mayor of Paris' plans to replace them with a soulless, modernised version designed by Matali Crasset. The controversial overhaul will cost €52.4 million.

Crasset's design, described by the mayor as being “more ergonomic and functional”, has proved unpopular with Parisians. Following an online petition with over 56,000 signatories, Crasset has been asked to redo her design for the autumn.

The petition, launched by “Juliette L” on Change.org, claims Crasset's designs are impersonal and ugly while the existing kiosks “in Haussmannien style with iron balustrades are emblematic of the capital”. It calls for a design that has the charm of “Romantic Paris” inspired by historical models typical of the architect Gabriel Davioud (1823-1881) that are popular with tourists.

Anne Hidalgo, the Mayor of Paris, launched an open-call competition for a redesign of the city's 360 newspaper kiosks two years ago. Crasset's practical design won the commission in conjunction with the Mediakiosk group.

The new kiosks, due to open between June 2017 and June 2019, are intended to be better insulated, weather-protective and have in-built toilet facilities. They will also be equipped to sell cultural tickets, maps, mobile phone recharges and soft drinks and have interactive, digital screens for browsing publications that can be delivered to the kiosk owner.

Olivia Polski, the deputy responsible for commerce, arts and crafts and liberal professions, admits that the aesthetic aspect of the newspaper kiosks is a “sensitive issue”. She is setting up a cross-party working group that will reflect on Crasset's new designs.

However, Hidalgo defends her decision for the overhaul. In an article in Le Point, a weekly current affairs magazine, she is quoted saying, “There are no Haussmannien kiosks, the kiosks that you see are Haussmannien plagiaries in plastic that were installed in the 1980s and [...]  the types in glass bubbles that are quite ugly and that have not aged well, that's what we're going to change.”

The Mayor of Paris has asked Crasset not to discuss the matter with the media.

Here you'll find more information about the petition.