30 Jan 2019 • Paris
Pernod-Ricard’s new Paris workspace has some of the most flexible furniture we’ve seen
When it came time to design an office for its innovation arm, called B.I.G., Pernod-Ricard indeed went big. It’s fitting, because here’s the elementary difference between the mothership and the wild child: while the main company manufactures and distributes wines and spirits, their Breakthrough Innovative Group is in charge of researching unconventional concepts, analising evolving consumer attitudes and coming up with new products that can challenge traditional codes.
That’s why the spatial proposal from Studio Malka Architecture for the three-floor building is as fluid and open to constant change as B.I.G.’s working mindset.
Take, for example, the layout in the lower floor, called The Make Tank. The studio included an amphiteatre, a large open kitchen and a tasting area, as well as scientific labs for analysis. In the Do Tank, located on the ground floor, the spaces are devoted to a marketing-oriented platform; the Think Tank, in the attic, is where everything goes in terms of working together in fluctuating teams.
While these divisions might seem set in stone on a macro level, it’s actually quite layered. In fact, the execution on a micro level is where Malka’s breakthrough innovation becomes more apparent: it’s all about what they call Mutant Furniture. By stretching scales and merging uses into the bespoke pieces, the studio was able to give specific spaces a wide array of working possibilities. Some were stealthily hidden, such as the kitchen and storage units that disappear behind their external mirror covering; some tables and libraries are actually easy-to-dismantle modular systems in disguise, made from upcycled scaffolding.
And as any open workspace irremediably creates a need for privacy and a place for focus, the Paris-based practice also included some SOPs – Sound-proof Open Pods. Not an open space and not quite a secluded room, this is a highly mobile hybrid system shaped like long soundproof alcoves that allows employees to work quietly around the patio. The layered sound-absorption elements are embedded into the integrated storage solutions and the walls, and aided by space-dividing furniture – which, of course, are also mobile.
This is, in other words, one of the most flexible and functionally impressive bespoke furniture solutions we’ve seen in a recently built workspace. We’ll drink to that.