duendepr.com news TP Work Unit : La Cantine and Le Garage at BETC Magasins généraux in Pantin (France)

TP Work Unit : La Cantine and Le Garage at BETC Magasins généraux in Pantin (France)

Since 2014, T&P Work UNit has applied a unique methodology to coordinate the
programming and artistic and operational management of BETC’s move to the Magasins généraux in Pantin. Today two new workspaces are up and running on the top two floors of the building, Le Garage and La Cantine, and a series of benches for pathways, cumulatively 1.8 km. Luis Laplace has been commissioned to assist Mercedes Era in developing a dining room. In September T&P Work UNit will deliver its new project: a micro-architecture called Mini-Skunk and the publication of two books on relationships between offices and design, one containing images and The Generic Office project, and the other historic and theoretical texts on this subject for businesses, students and researchers.
La Cantine. The first impression of corporate canteens is that they are empty and forlorn places that are intermittently busy. To turn this space into a real place, throughout the day, T&P has designed 900 m2, on one of the finest spaces on the first floor. There is a 360° view with a canal at the bottom of the building… It also unites work functions, with retractable electric plugs (T&P Work UNit – Ensto) hanging over the tables and comfortable benches designed by Gesa Hansen, from Mobilier TON and Label Edition.
A coffee bar by T&P Work Unit, to enjoy a coffee at any time of the day, on one of the cosy sofas, occupies the southwestern area. Lastly, the Documentation department area completes the workspace with a storage cabinet, La Doc., designed by Philippe Million… La Cantine may be busy non-stop like a ‘grand café’ where you can work. It is ultra-welcoming with an incredible yellow poured rubber floor, a system of transparent and retractable PVC partitions, to ensure privacy for meetings without sacrificing daylight. Furnished walkways complete the fluidity of the space and view.
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For LABEL EDITION, T&P Work UNit has produced an all metal version of the celebrated Mullca 510 by Gaston Cavaillon on which generations of schoolchildren have sat. Developed for the exterior and for lunches outside on fine days, for both the armchair and the bridge version (a little lower and more ‘relaxing’), Mullca is a wise choice for narrow balconies due to its slender and compact nature. It furnishes walkways, patios, terraces and gardens. Furthermore Sophie Breuil, designer and artistic director of T&P Work Unit, has designed with Alban Le Henry a set of 3 outdoor benches in Ductal concrete and metal that will furnish the1.8 km length of pathways surrounding the two parts to the building… Low and minimalist but familiar, their discrete design does not distract from the building and its structure.
Le Garage. Dedicated to the agency’s form production activities (films, images, objects, packaging, digital photos, sound…), Le Garage is a bustling, lively area, where production and creative services work together. T&P organized the 2 000 m2 workspace around a central ‘pit’ (equivalent to that of Parisian pavements) that is used as a public space, a screening area, etc. A large bleacher (Gradin), designed by Swiss designer Adrien Rovero, surrounds the pit and the Post-Production Units (PPU) are installed in the horticultural greenhouses adapted by BLOCK Architectes. In the entrance, the Cabanes poetically bring to mind garden sheds that are home to printing and colorimetric activities. Further away,transported here from the agency’s former premises, the Sound Lab.
This environment, complete with mock-up workshops, photo-shoot and recording
studios form a landscape, a stock of small architectures. Here, T&P Work UNit
found its inspiration in the building’s heritage (in the past, the building was used to store products incoming from the Ourcq canal before distribution in Paris), to pay tribute to production, industrial shapes and to their survival as environmental components, urban features, as inspiration to reverie, creativity and work.
Les Magasin généraux: the Generic Office Case Study
La Cantine and Le Garage are therefore the last two pillars of the project launched in 2014, when T&P Work UNit was entrusted with the schedule and artistic direction of the interior developments and design of the Magasins généraux in Pantin as the new premises for the advertising agency BETC. Artistic directors Sophie Breuil and Catherine Geel are supported by a multi-disciplinary team that includes an architect, two to four senior designers and two juniors according to the project phases. Marie Lejault, the 3rd T&P member, is in charge of administration and management and supports the Artistic Director as project manager. Eighteen other European architects and designers work on projects developed and directed by T&P.
Design is a team discipline. It is collective and involves interfaces. The designer observes and analyses facts, receiving expert advice that is then crystallised into a form. This form is always cultural and economic and its success results from the collaboration. Design as a modern discipline has drawn upon this tradition since Quakers or German engineering. That is why a work implementation project envisioned by design inevitably involves various types of collaborations.
For example, there is collaboration with the company for whom the workshop is conducting the project. The proposal is not to work for, but to work with. T&P Work UNit provides respected expertise with an artistic director designer, a project manager designer and a specialist in human sciences. An economist is also part of this collaboration. The other collaboration, an original one in this context, is commissioning and working with other designers that T&P Work Unit proposes, then chooses by creating requirements specifications and by carrying out the artistic and operational management.
These collective intelligence connections are key to the project: the more designers that you have well-versed in collective discipline and the forms of intelligence that it develops, the more foundations and directions for fruitful and pragmatic work you have. The word innovative often goes hand in hand with the word design. T&P believe that it comes from the structure of the discipline, but also the human and analytical qualities of the designers. That is why curbing innovation has no meaning in design, the discipline acts naturally and intuitively with a particular pioneering spirit. The bringing together and managed liberation of creative energy, crystallisation of forms is built between individuals and teams. From preliminary sketches to prototypes, the stages putting projects into practice are stations that give the rationale of the project perspective. Tangibility is more powerful than discourse when reconsidering things. Collaboration and exchange are immediately apparent around a concrete form.
Economy. Planning and reflection on work via design is no more expensive and is compatible with a budget equivalent to those that fall within economic standards in construction and development for a fundamentally different outcome. The generic office project was initially stated in a budgetary allocation equivalent to that of a standard development and held its own in economic terms as it fell within the classic budget ratio of 500 to 550 euros per m2.
The workshop method revolutionises the binary approach where companies focuses on their business and designers concentrate on forms. This is a different approach: where the company engages in the question of the project, the multidisciplinary design team takes the economic direction (of the project and the company) as the constitutive basis of its work. This approach expresses belief in the role and place of design regarding the space and tools to organise the work of the tertiary sector.