Jean Nouvel’s speech at the press conference of I Saloni (April 9/14th) is incisive and targeted. While relating the installation we are going to see at Salone Ufficio (1200 sqm inside pavillions 22-24), he announces two strong concepts: to speed up the principles of change and fight cloning.
The 3-minute short video sums up the highlights of his speech:
“The worst thing, that can happen when you design an office is not to know the person it’s meant for: the office community is condemned to that!”
Nouvel’s staging for Salone Ufficio will offer some workspace “ambiguous” situations, office and home furniture “stacked” in an unusual way, just as it happens in a city where different architectures are side by side and superimposed; a mix of furniture units showing the freedom to carry out one’s territory, a vital occupation, a “colonization” of space.
“Project: office for living” will showcase several different work environments light years away from urban segregation and functional cloning. As Jean Nouvel says, the architect’s job is to interpret the technical, cultural and social changes of the age in which we live and to express them poetically in a quest for freedom.
A monolith will rise up in the middle of SaloneUfficio, as intriguing as it is inviting, showing four video-portraits: a film director, a philosopher, an artist and a writer raising concerns and giving their views on the concept of office space. This then paves the way for five completely original scenarios illustrating just how out-dated the traditional office already is.
A classic apartment, completely transformed into a working environment and done up in ultramodern style is the first “mise en scene:” the space is on a human scale, making for more userfriendly and enjoyable spaces than any repetitive, standardised offices. This is an instance of “cocooning,” the concept of recreating one’s own nest at work, fostering a sense of reassurance.
The second mise en scene will consist of a series of adjoining offices set out logically and in a structured fashion, but generously free-form in spirit. Sliding walls, folding doors, careful lighting and diversity of ambience achieved by means of moveable blinds, accessories that can be hung onto or removed from the walls at will: the workspace can be closed off from or opened onto the neighbouring offices as required and as desired.
Next off is a warehouse, converted into an office, optimising its spatial potential, representative of the essential interactions between domestic and work spaces, and reflecting the increasingly common trend for working from home.
Heterogeneity is the key to the final mise en scene: mobile, modular and stackable flat surfaces and shelving, that can be piled up and perched upon, making for an entirely different working environment and presenting like an outline cityscape. Even the materials – aluminium, wood, leather and plexiglass – take on their own heterogeneity, enveloping other components to innovative effects.
Spaces unfettered by traditional rules, therefore, driven by the concept of a pleasurable working environment, allowing people to compose their own spaces to suit their own particular needs, with plays of light and reflections. To this end, a laboratory, or theoretical demonstration space, is devoted to light, demonstrating how its capabilities can be harnessed and exploited, an antithesis to the standardised office lighting systems of today. The event will also include a small compendium of furnishings and structures created by great architects, a homage to Jean Novel’s heroes, and a VIP lounge, to which four eminent designer friends of Nouvel’s have been invited: Ron Arad, Michele De Lucchi, Marc Newson and Philippe Starck.