Established in Paris in 1987 by Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal, the practice has designed commercial, educational, cultural and residential buildings. A recognizable connecting thread across their work is the desire to look for the essential in each situation and to create a modest language of architecture based on an economy of means. Whether it is their celebrated conversion of the Palais de Tokyo or their social housing refurbishments, Lacaton & Vassal make intelligent re-use of the existing through a careful appreciation of the potential for transformation present in each given situation. They maintain that ninety percent of what is required for most projects is already available on site. Philippe Lacaton traces this attitude to five years spent in Niger which he describes as a formative experience. He witnessed firsthand what could be achieved with very little through the innovation and creativity of those living in scarcity.