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La Cabane perchée

Alain Laurens: as strong as an oak, as high as a bird

 

 

The French are high. Here's the proof: more and more choose to build tree houses. Alain Laurens and his team from "La Cabane perchée" (The Tree House) are the starting point of this trend. 

 

 

La Cabane perchée, a story of meetings

After spending 30 years in advertisement, Alain Laurens decided to live in the trees... or rather invite people to do so. When you talk with this unusual entrepreneur, the first words that come out are "friendship" and "trust". That's what his two friends, Daniel and Ghislain, needed most to choose to start this rather eccentric adventure.

Daniel is a watercolourist

aquarelle_dune_cabane_avant_ralisation_400_01

 

and Ghislain a carpenter. The three partners chose to try this new branch in 2000 and don't regret it: today, they build over 30 tree houses per year in the trees in France and in the world.

But success doesn't necessarily means industrialisation: the company has kept its home-made methods and a human-centred philosophy. Alain Laurens is committed to meeting each of his clients in person. Most of the time, he ends up having dinner with them, a proof that the relationship that develops goes beyond a simple commercial transaction.

 

From the draft tree house to international success

They called their first creation the "draft tree house" and built it in Alain Laurens' garden. This was a way to demonstrate the charm of these little constructions close to nature and the sky.

Very soon, word-of-mouth spread and orders poured in. In 15 years, the small company built no less than 500 tree houses. The original team got bigger and now accounts for 11 people: carpenters, woodworkers, plumbers, electricians, etc. From the tree house for private clients to luxury hotels, the model passed the borders of France and exports abroad: "La Cabane perchée goes where she is needed".

This success story can be explained through the gathering of exceptional know-how in design and building. Each tree house is a unique model entirely built in France and assembled on the spot. There are other reasons for the passion for such a human nest built 10 to 15 metres high. The reason is immaterial. A tree house is a highly symbolic shelter that stimulates imagination and rekindles the childhood buried deep inside of every one of us. "Everybody has built tree houses as a child," stresses Alain Laurens.

 

 

Dreams under the bark

La Cabane perchée is a child's dream came true inseparable from the personality of its founder. A dreamer child little inclined to fit in standard education frameworks, he often felt he was part of "the branches you cut to only keep the best".

But once again, meetings have been essential: from the Club Med company to advertisement and stonecutting, Alain Laurens went from a life to another depending on what life had to offer. From his greenest age to maturity, he always managed to give back beyond hopes to those who trusted him.

From his life in advertisement, he kept the volubility and the taste for slogans that mark the mind. When he started the concept of La Cabane perchée, French forests had just been devastated by the storm of the century. Others would have been discouraged to start building houses among the trees. He changed this in a sales argument: "the trees that are still standing are necessarily the strongest!" The joke almost sounds like a mission statement, because if Alain Laurens were a tree, he would surely be made of oak wood, the strongest.