Haute Desks: Coworking in Paris

All photos courtesy of Bertina Minel Architecture.

Le Showroom opened in June 2013 in the heart of Paris, the second of two Remix Coworking spaces cofounded by Anthony Gutman and Hanane El Jamali. Paris-based Bertina Minel Architecture headed up the design.

Gutman and El Jamali’s interest in coworking sprung from their shared experience leading strategic planning initiatives for companies like Harley-Davidson, Veolia, and several French banks.

“We usually have a lot of freelancers that help us on our [projects],” said Gutman. About three years ago, with room to spare in a new office, “we had the idea to tell our freelance partners to come in and work at the agency. After a few weeks, we noticed that people were happier and more efficient.” And thus, Remix Coworking was born.

The partners opened their first facility, L’Appart, in early-2013; Le Showroom was completed in June.

“When we first visited [the site for Le Showroom], it was quite hard to imagine what we could do with it. It was so old and so dirty – there wasn’t even a floor, and you could see the core metal of the building through what was left of the walls,” said Gutman. Rain leaked in through the glass roof.

“But [architect Stephanie Bertina Minel] worked very hard in order to conceive of and achieve the space,” he said. “We changed absolutely everything.”

Bertina Minel said that they wanted to design a space that wasn’t just a cut-and-dried work environment. Instead, they wanted to “answer to the expectation of a mobile population with varied modes of working.” So, in addition to a variety of workspaces, Le Showroom also provides space to exhibit objects that are created there by the coworkers.

Out front, a big metal and glass façade – in typical Parisian style – allows light to flood into the 860 square foot former-warehouse, and offers passers-by a peek in on the coworkers, as well as on the objects that have been displayed.

In the basement, they built a modular meeting room that seats 20 people and can be used for conferences or as a lounge. They salvaged available space under the steps and turned it into a “phone box” – a little soundproof room where coworkers can take phone or Skype calls, without being disturbed. The basement is also home to lockers, printers, and other IT services.

“The [goal] was to honor the present structure by playing on golden tones as a link between the bright and spacious ground floor, and the underground, more confined area,” said Bertina Minel. “It gives an identity to the place while offering a workspace appropriable by all.”

 

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