Thomas Massé, associate manager at the firm Hintegra, helps brands to establish themselves in France and Europe.

Italian immersion

From the moment he began studying architecture at the school in Rennes, Professor Paul Gresham and his Anglo-Saxon approach to places, light and physicality made a strong impression on Thomas Massé. At the school he made friends with Erasmus exchange students and became particularly close with the Italians. In the fourth years of his studies, driven by his desire to train with the architect Cristiano Toraldo Di Francia – one of the founders of ‘Superstudio’ – he moved to Ascoli Piceno. Banning himself on the spot from any form of contact with his French compatriots, he immersed himself in the local way of life, learnt to speak Italian and discovered the joys of living abroad. His integration came to serve him very well professionally: a few years later, after having set up a one-man architecture firm in Paris, he joined forces with an Italian project manager to create a commercial architecture consultancy firm – Hintegra. But how, at less than thirty years old, while completing his degree in the midst of a full-on economic crisis, did he come to establish two companies in France and Italy?

First post in retail

Between 2008 and 2010, he took up various associate and project manager posts at architecture firms in Rennes and Paris. A job offer published online by Fashionjob led him to accepting a post as a France and Italy concept store manager at Maisons du Monde. He contributed to the development of the brand over five years, travelling between France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany and Spain. His first year on the job, during which he was supervised by a technical expert, for him constituted a real learning curve: ‘In twelve months with him, I had caught up on everything you don’t learn at a technical level at school.’ Constantly hopping across borders, he discovered new cultures and negotiation methods, built a network, visited retail-dedicated salons and blossomed in a sector which until now had been unknown to him. For him, this world ‘has a place for any kind of person, including architects! And we don’t get taught this at school!…’. In reality, it had never been his dream to become an architect. Although he describes his activities in retail as not being ‘the most honourable of professions’, Thomas Massé positioned himself strategically in an internationalised and rapidly changing market: ‘I realised that there was a real business opportunity internationally…’

Nowadays he creates jobs and produces a turnover matching all of his expectations. In the years to come, his company Franco-Italian Hintegra will continue to support French brands as they establish themselves in Europe and help foreign brands settle in when expanding to France. Thomas Massé has a bright future ahead


Profile produced by Laura Rosenbaum, DEHMONP architect, 3rd year of sociology thesis under the supervision of Guy Tapie, PAVE laboratory, ensapBx, associate of the Emile Durkheim Centre, University of Bordeaux