Cyrille Hugon keeps a vivid memory of the architecture of Dijon, his hometown. From the age of 5 he draws in extracurricular workshop, and hardly a little bit older, falls in love with the stone sculpture His artistic taste led him naturally to the National School of Fine Arts in Dijon, thanks to which he is experimenting one first international experience at the Academy of fine arts of Budapest, during an extended workshop in Erasmus stay. He developed a special interest in the cultures of the post-Soviet countries. The student continues his learning by integrating the prestigious National School of Decorative Arts of Paris. In quest of spatiality, he enrolled at the National School of Architecture of Marne-La-Vallée, while working part-time for the industry of furniture.

From major Parisian agencies to the major Chinese agencies

In order to gain experience, Cyrille Hugon chooses deliberately the major agencies in Paris: Architecture Studio, Valode & Pistre, then AREP, the Agency studies of Railway stations. Present in Asia thanks to the presidential program of Jacques Chirac “150 architects, planners, landscapers in France 1998-2005 “, AREP designed the South Railway station of Shanghai, and involves the architect in the supervision of the building site. He founded on site a network of Chinese partners, and receives a proposal of employment from the Agency A + H in Beijing. Offer accepted, he moved first alone, then with the family. His woman, an Opera singer, integrated quickly into the French community, gave singing lessons, and performed tours at the Opera of Beijing and Shanghai. Cyrille Hugon becomes finally the main Designer at Été Lee in Shanghai, a Chinese agency with French coloring. In addition to designing, he devotes himself to recruitment and communication tasks, and develops a design department within the company that brings together 100 employees.

The Entrepreneurial spirit: the clash of cultures

By performing in China almost five years, Cyrille obtains an international culture : “When you go abroad, you see that the agencies are structured differently, you get to know all the competitors on the international level, how it works, what are their strategies, the process of building…” The making of a step back on his practice gives a critical view on the architectural profession and its structuring. After 7 years in Shanghai, the return in France is not easy. Despite the fact of having found a job at AREP Paris as Director of the international development, the constant Discovery and astonishment is missing him sometimes. The scale of the projects, the speed of the process, the positive energy, the size the agency :”This is not the same world! ” Currently in charge to develop projects in Russia – one of his preferred countries – the architect has to travel on a regular basis to negotiate the contracts.

His Tips for the young generations: perform a 6 months internship in Singapore or in the United States, and for the more experienced, work at least two years in a foreign agency.

Portrait carried out by Laura Rosenbaum, DEHMONP architect, 3rd year of thesis of sociology under the direction of Guy Tapie, PAVE laboratory, ensapBx, partner at the Center Emile Durkheim, University of Bordeaux