Start-up: The architecture of cool – FrenchWeb.fr
In the 19th century, things are clear. Work is family: Michelin, Godin, Dunlop, Krupp, Menier. The family workers’ housing estates, organized around a patriarchal model, punctuate the daily life of the workers, by isolating the functions. Work, sleep, have fun, pray. However, the boundaries between family and work are blurred, since an unspoken guide to good conduct requires all employees and their families to behave in an exemplary manner. The organization of the community is such that the houses of the leaders physically dominate those of the foremen, which surround those of the workers.
This organization can make you smile today, but the humanist ambition of their founders, often enlightened, sometimes enlightened, comes from a deep progressive desire, in view of the dilapidated housing conditions encountered until then. This is how the European industrial era produced architectures today classified as World Heritage by Unesco, as witnesses of a bygone era.Apple-converted-space “> Just look at the places where the two historical IT giants were created,Apple-converted-space “> suburban pavilion, bathed in greenery. On the one hand, several kilometers of freeways between accommodation and office. On the other, a simple door. On one side, beige walls, beige carpet, modular ceilings, white light, metal desks. On the other, the wood frame of suburban North American architecture, DIY shelves, and a door that is often wide open to the street.
What might seem like anecdotal, marks with a hot iron the imagination around the two brands, the “pro” dimensionApple-converted-space “> two founders weren’t as cartoonish as the characters they agreed to play. But they each indirectly shaped the foundations of their empire and a new relationship to work. And the cool won.
The first to affirm it loud and clear is Google in 2005 with the construction of its Mountain View headquarters by the architects of the Clive Wilkinson agency. The stigmatizing elements of tertiary architecture are atomized. The false ceilings are removed to leave the technical ducts visible. Doors and partitions are erased, to the benefit open space collaborative and large spaces lounges, sofas, forums,Apple-converted-space “> The whole looks like a village, with ultra secure access. To improve the comfort of employees, located between Generation Y and Z, sports halls have been set up, canteens become organic, yoga and gaming rooms are created. Better than at home.
This multicolored Californian writing, taken up en masse by all the “start-ups” in the world since, also has its New York and San-Franciscan counterpart, with the architecture of the loft. This writing is more generally used by large co-working groups, with an unfailing fascination for exposed brick, the workshop canopy and the filament bulb. The giant WeWork perfectly illustrates this trend in its premisesApple-converted-space “> More chic, urban and sophisticated than the infantilizing writing of the west coast,Apple-converted-space “> Cool obliges.
Whether the model adopted is that of the loft or colored boxes,Apple-converted-space “> And for good reason. Start-up employees often come from long journeys in universities or grandes écoles, where the days combine lectures and personal work, most often carried out at home. The work is duplicated physically, in the classrooms, but also in the rooms and lounges of the students. The house then becomes an extension of the university. But the atmosphere is more relaxing, more familiar,Apple-converted-space “> If Facebook remains attached to the image of an amusement park, Apple opts for a sober project, where innovation comes throughApple-converted-space “> or even Sellsy who assumes and borrows the codes of the tertiary sector to better divert them.
The architecture of cool has its limits. Those of the dilution between private and professional spheres, of the confusion between domestic and professional architecture.Apple-converted-space “> Who will be the one who will reconnect withApple-converted-space “> The competition is open.
Frédéric Martinet is an architect DPLG, co-founder of the FMAU agency, and teacher at ENSA Paris-La-Villette.