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.”