Page D4.2 . 29 May 2002                     
ArchitectureWeek - Design Department
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    Pixelpark in Paris


    Throughout the office, shaded gray linoleum demarcates the different areas, while brightly colored strips create a rhythmic spark.

    Showing off the Infrastructure

    Because the original concrete structure offered a height of only 7 to 8 feet (2.2 to 2.4 meters), all the technical infrastructure — electricity, computer cabling, and air-conditioning — is exposed and supported in overhead channels of galvanized steel. From these cable trays, plug-in terminals are suspended to 4 feet (1.2 meters) above the floor, providing all necessary network connections for the workstations. These normally hidden network connections are a prominent design element of this office space.

    The air conditioning and lighting equipment are also suspended from above and hidden in so-called "clouds" composed of colored, angular elements. Distributed throughout the facility at the ceiling level, they symbolize digital clouds, an icon for the activity of the multimedia company.

    By designing the interior detached from the main structure of the building, the architects were freed to devise adaptable, flexible components. This tactic also worked in their schedule's favor, as they had only four months to complete the project. Gillet and Atela created a space both dynamic and playful, without being seduced by the design of nonfunctional gadgets.

    The Gillet and Atela design for Pixelpark extends the growing trend for unconventional layouts in Parisian office space. Since the late 1990s, fast-developing multimedia start-ups have increasingly wanted to reflect their nontraditional business approach in their office environments. Hard work is now often presented with an edge of fun and luxury. Even if such companies in the new technology business sector are short-lived, their influence on French office design will be longer lasting.

    Christian Horn lives and works in France and Germany. He is an associate of ON-AIR, a Paris-based architecture firm, focusing on experimental architecture and project management. He is a frequent contributor to several German and French architecture magazines.

    Project Credits

    Owner: Pixelpark France
    Architect: Edge (François Gillet and Andrés Atela)
    Electrical/Lighting: Maintelect
    Computer Network: Intelnet
    Air Conditioning : Crystal
    Telephone: Airtelec
    Security/Alarms: Media Alarme
    Partition walls/Floor/Paint: Alsea
    Woodwork/Metalwork: Phyrrus
    Furniture: Cidrac
    Controller: Veritas


    ArchWeek Image

    Floor plan of the bay with reception, classrooms, and administration.
    Image: Edge

    ArchWeek Image

    Plan of three bays around the two courtyards of the office space renovated for Pixelpark.
    Image: Edge

    ArchWeek Image

    The middle bay, with electrical/mechanical rooms at one end, supports the information technology department.
    Image: Edge

    ArchWeek Image

    The narrowest bay houses the creative staff.
    Image: Edge

    ArchWeek Image

    Section through the utility spine of the middle bay.
    Image: Edge

    ArchWeek Image

    The kitchen module.
    Image: Edge

    ArchWeek Image

    A presentation area.
    Image: Edge

    ArchWeek Image

    The "clouds" symbolize the company and conceal overhead services.
    Image: Edge


    Click on thumbnail images
    to view full-size pictures.

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