Coworking spaces have sprung up all over Europe and America during the 21sth century catering to a burgeoning number of freelancers, nomadic professionals and start-ups. Taking the concept one step further is French coworking pioneer The Bureau whose premises not only tick all the boxes in terms of autonomy, flexibility and range of services but also combine exceptionally designed interiors with premium hospitality. Located between Place de l’Opéra and the Bourse, the brand’s third Parisian venture perfectly demonstrates the brand’s philosophy. Designed as a boutique office by architect Franklin Azzi and interior design practice The Socialite Family, the venue consists of elegant communal and private office spaces as well as an internal courtyard, gym, café and a mid-century-inspired restaurant with its own dedicated Chef, the latter a reflection of the importance of gastronomy in French culture.
The Bureau’s philosophy is based on the French work ethos and lifestyle, which encourages interactions, values good food and prizes leisure - think lively discussions and long lunch breaks, or rather a “Smart Way Of Working” as the brand’s motto attests. People-friendly communal areas establish a sense of community, a sophisticated aesthetic fosters a sense of comfort and wellbeing, while a focus on gastronomy inspires creativity and boost productivity as well as speaks of the brand’s hospitality sensibility. More than a place where you can conduct lunch meetings, the restaurant at the heart of The Bureau’s every location is all about good food being the most effective way of bringing people together.
Taking over two historic buildings, the main challenge Azzi faced in the design of The Bureau’s third Parisian location was “to create a fluid connection between the two formerly separate buildings” he explains. The refurbishment’s main goal was to create comfortable spaces with plenty of natural lighting with respect to the buildings’ architectural heritage. Entering the premises from Rue du IV Septembre, a reception space leads into a wood-panelled lounge and library, while visitors stepping inside from Rue Monsigny are welcomed by the café where a large counter in fluted ceramic and pewter guides them towards an outdoor terrace connecting the two buildings.
In collaboration with The Socialite Family, the interior design draws inspiration from a diverse number of sources, from Frank Lloyd Wright’s mid-century houses, to 1970’s office design, to the work of Oscar Niemeyer, and yet the result feels as modern as much as nostalgic. Vintage creations from France and Italy, such as the four-metre-long table and gigantic glass chandelier by Italian architect Osvaldo Borsani in the lounge, or the black leather seats by French designer Olivier Mourgue, are mixed with contemporary furniture, including pieces by the designers’ own brand such as the Achille chair in beech wood and the modular Rotondo sofa in curly boucle wool. A collection of books, photographs and wall art, mixed with an eclectic selection of decorative objects in the form of ceramics and Persian rugs enhance the tailor-made décor and imbue the spaces with personality.
Undoubtedly the heart of the venue beats in the retro restaurant whose design pays homage to the 1970s. A curvaceous sunken lounge with sumptuously upholstered seating imbues the space with theatricality, while the mirrored ceiling creates a dynamic play of light as the day progresses, enhanced by the interplay of gloss and matt finishes. This is a place to savour great food and wine, to catch up with friends and colleagues, or have a drink after work. The Bureau may be first and foremost a place to work, but that doesn’t mean that the environment it offers shouldn’t be anything less than dazzling or satiating.