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Virgin Store, Montpellier

  • Harmonious blend of the past and the modern
  • Total transparency
  • Optimal space efficiency

Challenge: Seemlessly blend the old the old and the new in a dramatic way

Montpellier on the Mediterranean coast in southeast France is today a bustling metropolis noted for its universities and excellent wines. It is a city that thoroughly embraces the new without abandoning its historic roots.

When a Virgin megastore opened in the city's renovated central market area, it was determined to follow suit. In planning the store, the architects in charge wanted the elevator to be a key element of the store's interior design while keeping with the retro charm of the building's glass canopies and metallic structures.

The Solution: Otis and the Gen2™ elevator

Otis rose to the Virgin store's challenge, installing a totally transparent Gen2TM elevator within a glass pylon. The stunning design highlights the system's technology while blending perfectly into an environment that combines the past and the modern.

The elevator covers three of the store's sales floors and one underground storage level and provides two-sided access. It is enclosed in a see-through glass hoistway that allows visitors and riders to watch the operation of Otis' machine-roomless technology, including the flat belt and compact machine. The stand-alone pylon is 11.45 meters (37.5 feet) high and includes nearly 92 square meters (994 square feet) of glazing for total weight of about 12 tons.

With capacity for 10 people, the elevator car offers total transparency through two glazed Techna doors and two, single-section glazed sidewalls. Like the pylon, the cabin is a harmonious whole, combining stainless steel and glass.

In order to achieve the seamless result, every aspect of the pylon and the car had to be designed in the smallest detail. The connection cables are invisible, and the hoistway equipment and attaching parts harmonize with the pylon.

The store describes the machine-roomless Gen2 system as "a veritable technological showcase from every point of view." Since its installation, the elevator has attracted a steady stream of riders and sightseers and earned national appreciation from the architecture profession.

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© 2005 Otis Elevator Company
GEN2-CS03 (1005)

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