One of the biggest auditors in the world, PricewaterhouseCoopers (), has recently set up its regional headquarters in the refurbished Grand Hotel-Dieu de Lyon. A comprehensive transformation project, which the firm has used to effect a profound change in its work philosophy. Faithful to the development principles implemented in the Neuilly-sur-Seine office in Paris, a pioneer of the “Work Place of the Future” project, the new offices offer employees and clients alike a unique experience.
After four years of works, the building which originally housed a hospice, a hospital, and a maternity ward, is now the Grand Hotel-Dieu de Lyon. A historical and lively site of great potential, which PwC say they were captivated by from the very start as the perfect backdrop for the new working methods the firm aims to implement. All of this is to be found in the heart of an area, nestled between the Rhône and the hustle and bustle of the Place Bellecour, which is a UNESCO world heritage site.
With 2,700m2 over three completely different floors, the offices enhance the original architecture in a space which prioritises collaboration. The Majorelle studio, specialists in interior design as a transformational vector for companies, was tasked with bringing to life a new way of working which promotes exchange and creativity.
The desire to work with a flexible company that was committed to sustainability and could meet the requirements for the new offices led PwC to place their faith in Actiu, who, together with its local partner in France, Arcenik, has been fully involved in the design of the space with the Twist and Vital Plus desking programmes and its modular storage.
When first approaching the project, the Majorelle team found a seemingly contradictory situation; they had to create a contemporary layout in a 17th century building. To make the architectural limitations of an historic building into an opportunity to promote creativity, all the spaces were designed with a carefully balanced blend of tradition and modernity.
The flexible office concept, in which most workers do not have an assigned work station, harmoniously overlaps with smaller, more isolated rooms, and informal meeting areas, to offer both clients and workers a 5 star experience. In different finishes, the modular storage works as both storage and room dividers.
An open plan, which boosts communication and the exchange of ideas, is the hallmark of the 2nd floor, which is entirely devoted to work spaces. They feature the Twist modular programme designed by Enrico Frigerio, of Frigerio Design Group. Available in various versions, it provides the flexibility required by PwC’s new collaborative working methods.
Clients are received on the 3rd floor where, as well as the reception area, they can enjoy a lounge and gallery whilst they wait. The meetings rooms have been furnished with the elegant and minimalist Vital Plus desking programme. A flexible solution which can be used in many different contexts.
The 5th floor or loft is an open workplace, which includes separate rooms for those who need greater privacy, a naturally bright cafeteria, and a lounge in green tones that aid rest and relaxation. With a clear ceiling height of 6.5 metres, it also hosts a space for client events and receptions, conferences and breakfasts. The outdoor terrace, styled completely in white, offers fantastic views over the Rhône.
PwC’s “Work Place of the Future” is not aimed at a mere change of image, but rather a full-scale revolution in how we work. In fact, after this first national stage, the project will continue to expand into French-speaking Africa and is scheduled to redesign the offices in the French cities of Bordeaux, Rennes, Marseilles, and Strasbourg in 2019. Flexible spaces, bursting with light and colour, which are far removed from the traditional image of consultancy, convey the business’ new values: “act with integrity”, “make a difference”, “care”, “work together” and “re-imagine the possible”.
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