Social science research for a French home improvement retailer

Leroy Merlin is a French-headquartered home improvement and gardening retailer, serving several countries in Europe, Asia, South America, and Africa.

Its Leroy Merlin Source (LMS) platform aims to create and share original knowledge on new ways of living and inhabiting spaces by expert researchers, professionals and stakeholders. The platform – organised in five thematic areas: “Living”, “Autonomy”, “Architecture & Urban Planning”, “Energy & Comfort” and “Health and Wellbeing” – favours the human and social sciences, design and artistic approaches, which are most likely to capture the transformations of spaces, lifestyles and ways of being of the inhabitants. Some research projects are carried out in partnership with public institutions, private companies or associations.

The LMS website (Google translate link here) contains a wealth of information and we highlight here just a few (all links are Google translate links): .

Working from home [Lived Spaces]
This section brings together the scientific research by sociologists Djaouidah Séhili , Tanguy Dufournet and Patrick Rozenblatt, and designer Sandra Villet. First, the team explored how people organised their professional activity at home.  In a second step, they carried out deeper investigations to define the personas and the main attitudes of people working at home. Then, the pandemic was an opportunity to concretely observe how individuals and businesses were reorganising. A quantitative survey made it possible to collect the first lessons of this change from 2020.

The bathroom: between desires and annoyances [Lived Spaces]
In this historical and sociological panorama of the great evolutions of the bathroom, sociologist Benjamin Pradel addresses the individual and collective issues that shape the room.

The home of the children [Autonomy]
Through sociology and drawing, researchers dissect all the challenges of the arrival of the first child, the bedroom of children from 0 to 6 year old, of 6-13 year olds, and finally of 13 to 18 year olds in the age of the connected screens. They end with a summary of the major issues in the construction of the child’s identity with her/his parents: between autonomy, dependence and belonging .

I am here and I am staying [Autonomy]
Aging at home for as long as possible is a major wish of the French. But what are their motivations? How do they differ from those of prescribers such as housing professionals, relatives and home workers? This section describes a psychosocial research that Marie Delsalle , psychoanalyst, conducted between 2012 and 2019. During this period, she met people aged 70 to over 90, living at home, alone or as a couple, and whose housing is suitable or not to their abilities. The research is presented in the form of audiovisual documentaries that make it possible to listen to people and see where they live on a daily basis. In three distinct stages, the research collected the words of the elderly on their motivations for staying at home, their interactions between relatives and professionals in the context of help provided at home, and the question of housing adaptation work.