Ateliers Jean Nouvel, Jean Nouvel Design – a new dynamism

France Go Full Screen

Two important recent appointments bear witness to the new dynamism that Jean Nouvel and François Fontès, the President of Ateliers Jean Nouvel (AJN), intend to inject into Jean Nouvel’s two main activities: architecture and design. Jules Nyssen, the founding director of Anakena Conseil, a law firm specialising in strategic advice, was named Chief Executive Officer of AJN, and Franck Argentin, Company Manager of the firm RBC, a contemporary furniture distributor, was named Managing Director of Jean Nouvel Design (JND). Both men stepped into their roles on 4 January 2016. These appointments are certain to reinforce the synergies between the two organisations and to ensure their evolution on the French and international stage.


Jules Nyssen was born in Brussels (Belgium) on February 22, 1966. A Doctor of Economics and a highly qualified teacher with an agrégation under his belt, Nyssen began his career at Aix-Marseille University(AMU), where he was head of the Department of Research and Teaching in Economics within the public economics body, the Institut d’économie publique (IDEP), from 1996 to 1999. Director of the DEA, the Diplôme d’études approfondies (a postgraduate qualification), and of doctoral research in political economics, macroeconomics and development at the University of the Mediterranean from 1998 to 2004, before it merged with the AMU, Nyssen went on to become the Managing Director of Services for the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Region. In 2008, he performed the same functions in the City of Montpellier. A civil administrator, Nyssen founded Anakena Conseil in 2014 and has continued since to run the consultancy, which specialises in strategy, management and organisation.

Franck Argentin was born in Versailles on April 17, 1964. He was born into the profession: the son of a furniture dealer, he decided to set out on his own at the tender age of 23, opening his first design showroom in Nîmes in the South of France in 1987. Designer Philippe Starck was entrusted with the design. RBC was born and paved the way for a new way of thinking about furniture distribution involving close dialogue with architects, decorators and lovers of good design. RBC was followed in 1995 by the RBC Structures showroom in Montpellier (Antonio Citterio), the Avignon showroom (Christophe Pillet) in 2001, and the Cuisine et Collectivités showroom (Piero Lissoni) in Montpellier in 2003. The innovative RBC Concept store in Gallargues followed in 2006 (Cabinet d’architecture Crégut + Dupont) and finally RBC Lyon in 2010 (Jakob + MacFarlane), nestled within the Cube Orange building designed by the same architects. With the opening of the RBC Design Center in Montpellier in 2012, Franck Argentin entered a new phase. Imagined and designed by Jean Nouvel, this 2000m2 space goes beyond the design object to celebrate design culture itself. In under 30 years, the RBC distribution network has secured a special place in the world of design.