One year has passed since the inauguration of the Orange mega headquarters in France, a building that has been designed by and for the employees and care for the environment.
More and more companies are proclaiming their commitment to new and, at the same time, old models of efficiency, those that propose large-scale solutions for their buildings. Also, aware that the beauty of a building is reflected in the attitude of its users, nothing defines a good job more than customer satisfaction. And in office architecture, employees come first, something that Orange is clear about.
The Orange company commissioned the realization of a lavish and magnificent complex, together with the developers of Pitch Promotion, to the tandem formed by the architecture studios HGA – Hubert Godet Architectes and Hardel Le Bihan. This happened in 2014, and now one year has passed since the inauguration of the orange complex, a building that gives life to its users.
The new orange building
For history lovers, we can say that the intervention was carried out as the rehabilitation of a building built in 1972, the old Lacassagne telephone exchange. It is a building with brutalist architecture, which will now house the more than 2,000 people who work for Orange in the region. In total, the work covered 26,000 square meters built, and had a cost of 44 million euros, about €1,692/m2.
The original building was merged with two other new buildings with a more striking aesthetic, but not at all dissonant with it, absorbing the block, but respecting the urban fabric. New spaces were created on top of the old ones, more green spaces, but also orange ones, with their own identity.
The terraces and green spaces are protagonists
One of the obsessions of the project was to encourage the interaction of the workers, the exchange of ideas, and tranquility. For this, there is nothing better than making large corridors, which are comfortable in terms of circulation; encourage the entry of abundant natural light; and create quality common areas, such as wedge-shaped terraces with gardens in front of them.
To make these terraces, the architects distributed the top floors with different heights, generating asymmetric spaces in which to create the described wedges. Part terrace, part garden, also betting on the implantation in the rest of the impassable roof, of another garden. With this, in addition to generating comfortable spaces for relaxation, they blend with nature and with good panoramic views of the city.
The buildings are connected by three sky bridges
Crossing the three buildings we find a generous street that joins them, and to which the promoters have given the name of agora. This crosses the ground floor of the buildings, connecting users in a unique way. But since communication comes first, on higher floors there are two aerial bridges that create the possibility of transit, without having to go down to street level.
The façade pattern is made up of aluminum panels painted with copper-colored tones, and simulates that of the historic building. This, together with the fact that the tonality is noticeably reminiscent of the visible bricks of the 1972 construction, generates a first-rate chromatic and rhythmic composition. The aluminum panels were designed to be installed in a 0.90 x 2.70 meter piece from floor to ceiling. Thus, they were brought directly from the factory to be attached to the already executed concrete structures.
An «orange» building, but green
As you can imagine, efficiency is one of the hallmarks of this work. This is reflected in the use of landscaped roofs, large windows to diffuse light into the interior, and by providing abundant natural ventilation. In addition, the glass is accompanied by Soltis Feel 99 LowE blinds, from the Serge Ferrari company, capable of reducing up to 40% of air conditioning needs, while protecting against glare and maintaining visibility.
The main structure is made of reinforced concrete and contributes to the durability of the building, not only due to the guarantees of a highly effective material, but also due to its thermal inertia, a capacity thanks to which it retains heat and returns it slowly to the room. In addition, rainwater is collected and stored for reuse in the abundant gardens of the complex.
The Orange building thinks about the comfort of the user
Inside, the porcelain and exposed concrete floors leave enough space to temporize with colored furniture, which winks at the user. The interior frames of the carpentry turn into dark tones and a delicatessen: they spread scents in each room, depending on the space and its function.
Finally, 400 parking spaces supply the complex. Although the most important thing is a restaurant for staff and an exhibition hall on the ground floor, with large glass windows. Of course, other companies can win awards for this creation: such as Bassinet Turquin, responsible for the landscape, Arcora, which was in charge of the facades, the company Builders & Partners, which was in charge of the team coordination aspects, or the responsible for lighting the Vicarini Studio.
The forms of the buildings are as important as their functions, since these determine the quality of the content, the first sensations that the user receives and, not least, will generate new design opportunities. Yes, nothing inspires more than the challenge of standing out without breaking, of exciting without detracting, of positioning without stridency.