This installation turns the Centre Pompidou right-side-in

Paris – In French, les trois-huit are the three shifts of a 24-hour working day. Earlier this year, at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, a permanent art installation titled 3-8 opened to the public.

Used to host educational workshops and talks, the new acquisition is a collaboration between Swiss architect Leopold Banchini, a partner at studio Bureau A, and French art director Laure Jaffuel. After tucking the installation’s services under a raised technical floor covered in 60-x-60-cm synthetic carpet tiles, they tucked an entire ‘office’ beneath it. Sections of the floor can be lifted to reveal a long workshop table with stools, an auditorium with desks and benches, a lounge, small kitchen, garden, cloakroom, storage space, sound system, projector, video-conference area with flatscreen, and an inflatable room for power-napping.

Multitasking effortlessly – the floor becomes a chair, a table, a conversation pit – 3-8 makes multiple references within an austerely minimal space. It turns the Pompidou’s pioneering inside-out architecture right-side-in, making the space it occupies highly flexible and generating its own brand of flexibility.

One such reference is to utopian architecture of the 1960s and ’70s that appeared as Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano were developing their design for the Pompidou. Visitors to Banchini and Jaffuel’s hidden workplace discover standard-issue materials found in offices the world over. Here the scenario grants a starring role to raised flooring, which the Swiss architect feels is underused and underrated – and which questions today’s homogenizing, alienating corporate environment. ‘Although it is functional, all the situations it creates are unexpected and absurd,’ Banchini said. ‘There is beauty in the rigour and efficiency of these materials, but they have been hijacked.’

Location Place Georges-Pompidou, 75004 Paris

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