Maisons de Lumière is the boutique concept that the Technal brand has pitched to metal builders to develop brand presence, with stores targeting end users and specifiers.
This year, five shops have opened to fanfare in France - Technal's home market.
At the same time, Hydro has launched a strategy to develop the Maisons de Lumière concept outside France. Christine Fabé is in charge of adapting the concept for the international part of Hydro's Building Systems business sector.
"We believe the tool could help better position the brand in the 'new' countries where we are working, among top-range end users and specifiers," she says.
Although Hydro intends to keep the Maisons de Lumière name and French touch in as many countries as possible, the company has also elected to have an English name for the concept, mainly for use in Asian countries. The name? "Brighter Homes by Technal."
The new name is now in use in China, where Hydro and a local investor have just opened the first "Brighter Homes" shop outside France. It is located in Hangzhou, two hours from Shanghai and the capital of the Zhejiang province.
The 130-square-meter shop is the largest to date, French stores included. It is also a bit different from the traditional shops with regard to location; it stands in a new shopping center dedicated to materials, end-products and decoration for buildings.
Visitors have been impressed with the shop's quality and look, and with the large sizes of the frames on display. The shops are split into three zones:
- A showroom area with products, for ideas and creativity
- A workshop area for open discussions about projects
- A quiet area for private discussions
Hydro and its Chinese metal builder investor are planning to open more Brighter Homes shops in the Zhejiang province.
"We hope to open other shops in relevant new areas next year," says Fabé.
The largest integrated aluminium company in Europe, Hydro is one of the preferred suppliers of aluminium building systems worldwide. Its international brands – Domal, Technal and Wicona – cover the range of system products, from windows and doors for single-home residential solutions to the erection of façades on major structures such as new airports or high-rise buildings.