Text description provided by the architects. group8 settled down in its new workspace on May 20 2010. A former industrial hall, near the center of Geneva (Switzerland), hosts these new offices designed in order to make the best use of the 780 sqm and the 9m of height. This white and luminous space contains a hidden treasure: 16 recycled shipping containers. All of which have been traveling across the world for thousands of kilometers over the oceans of the globe. Piled up as giant Legos, the containers were preserved “as found” without any outside cosmetic transformation. This aesthetic keeps the poetry of their former use and differentiates them from the immateriality of the big neutral space they lie in. Realistically, the use of containers represents a gain of about 200 sqm, while making good use of the height within the space.
By following Marcel Duchamp’s idea of “ready made”, these monumental objects (shipping containers) acquired a new function. Modern objects and industrial space both recover a functional use which turns them into contemporary living and working spaces. The containers formalize structured collective spaces. Each container embodies a collective form or a situation of their work: meeting rooms, cafeteria, lounge zone, bathrooms and showers, etc.
The other half of the scheme is in opposition with the containers’ structured zone: an open space enlightened by natural light travelling through the glass-roof. This informal working space gathers all the employees together, which generates a strong synergy of work. The second zone is composed of informal meeting spaces (exchange spaces) that are radically differentiated by the containers’ privacy. The white open space gives shape to a neutral environment, necessary to a creative work. The white furniture gives a spatial rhythm through its developed skyline, like a small city inside the city. The non-repetition of patterns in the furniture design gives birth to a kind of miniature landscape, far away from habitual rigid office environments.
The opening of this new work space represents an important step in group8’s life. As a new start, it contributes to keep the partners as well as the entire team looking to the future, a near future that is already fulfilled with many exciting projects!