LA PARISIENNE HQ
This full floor work space was designed as the headquarters for the oldest insurance company in France. A very specific brief had been put together by the client which required to design a “peaceful, see-through & fresh” offices that would not only respond to contemporary work practices but also allow new, and at times unexpected, team interactions. This program was outlined by the client after thorough interviews with each staff member, a process in which a significant amount of time and though had been put it prior to us being brought on board.
Using this brief we devised a strategy by which we could create “programmatic nodes” around existing structural columns thus re-configuring the impression one has of a space located in a 19th century building by absorbing these structural elements and creating a more loft space feel throughout. We then decided to dedicate a distinct set of programs to each node, pushing team members to walk around and through the space to a specific node.
Because the company offers a great variety of services, what had been noticed over the past years was that different teams did not interact with each other and at times, not even meet. This was identified as one of the main design criteria, hence our wish to push for a great variety of functionalities in nodes, from storage to micro-meeting rooms. We wanted to make sure that the first step inside the space would immediately signal a radically novel environment.
We then opted for materials that are not commonly thought of for work spaces and tried to use them sensibly to establish a core identity, combining wood, felt, carpets & glass partitions. Pine was the wood of choice because of its very imperfections, felt allowed greater sound absorption, glass allowed light in and see team mates.
Like most contemporary work spaces, the client wished to dedicate specific spaces for taking a break, informally meeting with an associate, have lunch or play. The challenge lied in creating these spaces in flow with the work spaces, porous to spontaneous access but with a clear threshold. This we achieved by changing to a different floor finish, lighting, furniture line and overall acoustic feel.
As the CEO of the company later confessed: “What works best is how unwritten rules of flexible office use, respect of office environment, team interaction have naturally fallen into place and how, when guests visit, a simple tour of the work space does half the work at introducing our company”.
Our work rests on the mediation between engineering & architectural culture. It is our belief that successful designs can only materialize by fully synthesizing building technology and architectural sensitivity. Our approach to space is determined by a rigorous understanding of existing relationships between technique and culture, free of stylistic limitations, open to context. Our designs cover a wide spectrum or architectural services from interiors to master planning for clients in both the public and private sectors. Operating as one firm our portfolio includes residential, corporate, hospitality, civic, transportation, and mixed-use projects. Our reputation is built on our ability to translate a client’s physical needs, aspiration and budget constraints into memorable designs and spaces. We strive to bring innovation and construction techniques together as well as branding, marketing and post-occupancy issues, as we believe that long lasting experience is measure of excellency.
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