While Geneva with its quays and promenades is famously located at the southeastern end of the lake of the same name, densely populated towns immediately adjoin it further west. This also includes a large area of Swiss rail traffic. As on the edges of many German railroad station districts, ambitious new buildings have recently sprung up in the Pont Rouge new construction district, which are generally in good demand as centrally located office properties. For one of the tenants housed there, the internationally successful legal consulting firm Baker McKenzie, Geneva-based CORAL STUDIO took on the planning of the new company branch.
Two upper floors are used, with the lower one benefiting from a terrace located on the roof of the eight-story base building, which can be used as an outdoor space. The clients’ style brief was to rely on spaces that are “sleek and minimalist” for work oriented to New Work methods. Their self-image, which describes itself as “agile, ergonomic, innovative, smart-working, human-centered, transparent and horizontally organized,” was to be reflected in the design processes. The floor plan itself is logical and functional: The offices sit on the outside, the circulation area runs in a circle around the access cores with special functions.
A conscious effort was made to achieve an economy of space, which could be implemented primarily thanks to dual uses: The waiting area for customers also serves as a lounge where people can have a coffee or a chilled soft drink in the evening. The cafeteria, equipped with light furniture, can be used both as a larger event area for townhall meetings and for informal work scenarios. A particular challenge was to break up the Law Firm’s conventional office procedures while maintaining discretion and security. This was achieved through clever room scheduling as well as the appropriate organization: for example, desk sharing is combined with lockers and document safes, and meeting rooms have to be booked.
And last but not least: the “funky” telephone booths. Their design refers to the individual decades in which Baker McKenzie experienced important milestones. This is true corporate identity!
What are for you the main qualities of a good workspace?
CORAL STUDIO: Further to the pandemic, the answer to this question has obviously evolved given the adoption by most companies of remote working and the democratization of new technology allowing for many one-on-one meetings to now be done via video calls. For those reasons now more than ever the workplace needs to offer better/different conditions than those possible from home. The workplace allows for an opportunity to meet, exchange, and collaborate with peers, to absorb company values and feel part of something bigger rather than just doing a job.
Do you see any comparability in room design for living and for working?
There is little room for experience in a permanent residential project; there is more room for experience in temporary residential projects such as hotels or short-term stay apartments. The office space is somewhere in between. On the one hand it should be a space with signature details and features which will allow for the corporate values to be felt and experienced by the client and the team; on the other hand, it should be a space in which one feels well and has the best conditions to work, focus, exchange and be happy.
Which functional aspects are the most important for you in the future development of Workspaces?
One tendency we can observe in the making of new office spaces is the desire to gain efficiency and offer flexibility, while avoiding dormant spaces. In order to achieve that, furniture and accessories have evolved over the past decade, they must be ergonomically adapted and enhance either focusing, collaborating, working or simply relaxing. The workplace becomes a toolbox of working solutions for the employees to deliver the best they can and for the employer to offer the best possible conditions.
|Client||Baker McKenzie Switzerland|
|Project type||New Buliding|
|Gross floor area m2||675|
|Number of employees||30|