Near the Place de l’Etoile, Lazard has taken up its new quarters at 175 boulevard Haussmann. An architectural ensemble totally redesigned by the architecture firm PCA-Stream, which associated RF Studio with the development of the platforms. Because the relocation of this investment bank is a marker of managerial development.
An investment bank is a house of financial advisory services that accompany investments and negotiations. As a result, two watchwords guided the development project for this new headquarters for Lazard: welcome and confidentiality. During the press presentation at the beginning of October, Jean-Louis Girodolle, Managing Director, expressed it clearly: “Our new premises speak of the way we are going to work and welcome our clients, it goes well beyond a real estate transaction. “
To accentuate the welcome, and a more modern image of society, the architect Philippe Chiambaretta proposed to work on light by rehabilitating this 12,000 m site. 2 . In this very Haussmannian district, it initially includes two juxtaposed buildings, of different heights: on the ground floor, in a desire to imprint fluid circulation in the space, the architect rethinks the access, in the opening at the forefront of the buildings, at the intersection of the streets encircling the whole: this gives a masterful entrance, marked by the presence of a spectacular chandelier that functions as an echo to two other major glass installations: the atrium and The canopy. The existing interior patio, closed, is thus redesigned as a generous atrium over 3 heights, like an interior living room which provides an informal convivial space instead of a village square. This glass dome is equipped with a kaleidoscopic system that allows light to be reflected and ensures a certain serenity at this point of meetings or relaxation. But what is the strength of the signature of the whole project is the elevation of the building on the top floors, crowned by a large atypical glass roof. Very contemporary, it is a strong identity of the place, and of the company.
Develop by anticipating uses
The designer Ramy Fischler and his team designed most of the interior fittings alongside the architect and especially the users: “A few years ago, we came to the end of projects to finalize the“ decoration ” , desks. Today we are involved upstream. A move is also a rebirth for a company, it takes the opportunity to reposition its management, its identity, and recruit its employees. We participate in these fundamental questions. I am a designer, I think above all of uses. Of interactions between teams ”.
Because the stake here is also to respond to the new strategic vocation of the offices: “ In general, we support companies that already have a culture of change intrinsically linked to the way of working. “. The mission was certainly to develop while respecting the needs for confidentiality, but also the needs of openness and sociability: the places must make people want to come and work here, and seduce the new generations with new collaborative uses. The layout had to reflect a reduction in hierarchical weight, offer new spaces of conviviality, but also the sharing of the rooftop.
” The first challenge was to modernize without going into the caricature of the clichés that we can have on techno boxes. One of the symbols of change that is taking place is this company restaurant, completely open to the street and which opens to the public in the evening. Overall, there was a desire for appeasement in a very masculine, very institutional investment banking culture. The challenge was to soften human relationships. The employees work a lot but have no place to disconnect. We designed various relaxation areas, with daybeds, projectors, independent kitchens. “ Likewise, reception areas, mini lounges and dining rooms have been multiplied in parallel to receive customers.
In the offices, the tables are motorized, the storage units form a partition but none rises to the ceiling to avoid suffocating the space, and give an impression of free movement: upstream of the project RF Studio analyzed the arrangements offices and different uses to optimize employee comfort.
To break up the monotony, the carpet in the circulation areas is marked with bands that create breaks, and this idea is reinterpreted in the meeting rooms. Regardless of their size, all rooms have two colors, this also gives the choice of using part or all of the space depending on the number of people present at the meeting. As Ramy Fischler puts it, “ we tried to associate different levels of comfort, in relation to more complicated levels of negotiations, such as mini lounges in the anterooms of meeting rooms. “. Most of the furniture was designed by the studio. Confidentiality is ensured by sets of blurred glass walls, acoustic textile panels, which subtly contribute to the identity of the whole, as in the rooms dedicated to business meals: these rooms are designed with the codes of hotels and include double lighting for the plate and reading documents.
The higher up the floors, the more the terraces are developed in a skilful interior / exterior dialogue. On the last three floors, the architect Philippe Chiambaretta imagined a dome designed with photovoltaic scales, which protects and ventilates a space that makes the link between the two buildings, poses as a figurehead illuminated at night, and skilfully juxtaposes a green rooftop.
Overall, the resumption of certain codes of hotel lobbies, relaxation areas, soft totalities and the bias to manage a maximum of natural light, bear the signs of the opening of this project. It decodes a “certain French art of living” from which the younger generations are not excluded, with a refresh of the codes of the convivial spaces for employees.