Project Case Study
A renovated train yard in Paris, Station F is now the largest startup campus in the world. Over 1,000 startups as well as the European hubs for Facebook, Microsoft, and Ubisoft call it home. Brice Bourgeois, Station F’s Director of Design, called on our expertise to help resolve two critical design problems he faced preparing the space.
Location: Paris, FR
Size: 30,000 m2
Station F asked us to design flexible interior spaces that would maximize usability and help foster the campus community.
Station F asked us to design special furniture with functionality and specifications that they could not find anywhere on the market.
Station F had two types of spaces they asked us to design: 1) the iconic meeting boxes, which offer seclusion throughout the campus, and 2) open “pop-up” spaces amidst the bustle of the campus. Anyone in Station F would be able to use these spaces, so the goal was to maximize that potential use and to help foster Station F’s community within these environments.
Here’s how we broke the problem down: knowing individuals will naturally adapt to use any space more flexibly than a group, we turned our focus to how these spaces could best support groups. We investigated all forms of gatherings we could imagine, and a clear spectrum emerged – formal vs informal.
To maximize the use of space, the idea was simple: with two different types of space (boxed or open) and two different types of meetings (formal or informal), we’d develop a combination of each, making four distinct concepts. Together, these spaces would provide the most flexible options between groups or individuals and focused versus collaborative work sessions.
Lining the full length of the campus, these iconic boxes make for quiet and secluded places to focus.
In the immense open air of the campus, these work areas provide a casual place for anyone to come and work.
Formal spaces incorporate a classic selection of furniture: long tables, custom whiteboards, chairs, stools, benches, and presentation monitors – all the essentials for productive meetings, flexible collaborations, and deep focus work.
Informal spaces are outfitted with items that can be rearranged easily: bean bags, cube side tables, and whiteboards. The spaces are ideal for group huddles, team hang-outs, solo work on laptops, and sitting back with a good read.
We outfitted each interior concept with furniture from our classic collection, as well as items from 3rd-party makers. The following Cutwork designs were selected for their simplicity, durability, and distinction.
Station F’s design team requested a side table with two key features in our informal concept design: 1) a rim around the top edge, and 2) a specific size fit to the space. The top rim was crucial to help contain coffee / beverage slips and prevent carpet stains.
Understanding these problems, we took our classic O Cube design, inverted the top to create a slip-proof rim, and easily adjusted the measurements to specification. Station F’s Director of Design, Brice Bourgeois, describes the process like this: “I had exactly what I wanted in mind, but it didn’t exist. So I sent you an email and my drawings, and you made exactly what I wanted. It was awesome.”
The second item Station F needed was a double-sided whiteboard — easy to move and also fit to specific dimensions that were nowhere to be found on the market. We designed the whiteboard to enable collaborations and ensure that spontaneous ideas could be captured with ease throughout the formal and informal spaces.
O Cube, Side Table
Spill-controlled rim, light weight, on-measure sizing, secret bottle opener.
Double-sided, ‘gesture designed’ marker holder, easy to move, on-measure sizing.
Brice Bourgeois, Director of Design at Station F
We built a secret bottle opener into our O Cube side tables. Here’s why: people love sharing secrets. And this useful ‘table trick’ was designed to be shared. We showed a handful of Station F’s members, and sure enough, the discovery went viral across the campus community – a simple but thoughtful design to help build community.
Director of Design at Station F
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