Saguez and Partners, Manufacture Design

Saguez and Partners, Manufacture Design

From the outside, the brand new shape of Saguez and Partners dominates the skyline. It’s cold outside on this February morning, but we still spent time admiring the metal structures of this ecological ship. Soon, the agency – also called Manufacture Design – will be next to a food covered market worthy of the ones in the greatest European capital cities. Another proof that the city of Saint-Ouen is transforming and everything starts in this eco-neighbourhood, the Docks. Working differently, in the city of tomorrow. The catchphrase is short but striking. Real. No sooner had we entered than we were propelled into a futurist version of what we commonly call “offices”. A space of more than 4000m², which used to belong to Alstom and was entirely redesigned by Olivier Saguez and his group of gifted architects. It’s all there. Transparency, wooden facades, steel structures, stairs in Jean Prouvé’s way: Saguez and Partners imagined a new and collaborative environment with a Brazilian spirit. A true desire of openness we first see in the ground floor. No workstation there. The outdoor life is welcome. Piles of books, some leaflets for future students – Design Act, the first school in an agency, is going to open in March –, but also a restaurant, two gyms and a huge tropical garden. We kept exploring. We then saw two more floors, where there is what’s best in terms of organisation and work space. “Silence” corners, material library, state-of-the-art brainstorming rooms, crazy moodboard corridors: we don’t even know what to look at. Maybe the numerous employees don’t either, but they can now enjoy the free placement. Making the conversation easy, encouraging initiatives and stimulating imagination: Saguez and Partners, a kind of open and inspiring box of ideas, gets everything right. There, we feel (almost) better than home.

Saguez and Partners, 6 rue de l’Hippodrome – 93400 Saint-Ouen.

Salon Rez-de-chaussée Agence Saguez and Partners Saint Ouen
Chaises Design Agence Saguez and Partners Saint Ouen
Livres Inspirations Bibliothèque Rez-de-chaussée Agence Saguez and Partners Saint Ouen
Salon haut Étage 1 Clients Agence Saguez and Partners Saint Ouen
Livre Inspiration Agence Saguez and Partners Saint Ouen
Halle Agence Saguez and Partners Saint Ouen

We really want the agency to be part of the life of the neighbourhood. The new Manufacture is reinventing into an incubator lab for the “living together in the future”.

Escaliers Agence Saguez and Partners Sain Ouen
Salle de réunion Agence Saguez and Partners Saint Ouen
Bureaux Agence Saguez and Partners Saint Ouen
Mobilier sur-mesure Salle de réunion Agence Saguez and Partners Saint Ouen
Salle de sport Agence Saguez and Partners Saint Ouen
Gants de boxe Salle de sport Agence Saguez and Partners Saint Ouen
Visuel Identité graphique Agence Saguez and Partners Saint Ouen Plafond verts Agence Saguez and Partners Saint Ouen Décoration objet Agence Saguez and Partners Saint Ouen Décoration Objet Ordinateur Agence Saguez and Partners Saint Ouen Couloirs Rez-de-chaussée Agence Saguez and Partners Saint Ouen Décoration Objets An 2000 Agence Saguez and Partners Saint Ouen Livres Inspiration Rez-de-chaussée Agence Saguez and Partners Saint Ouen

Jean-Philippe, can you introduce yourself?

Jean-Philippe

My name is Jean-Philippe Cordina. I am an associate creative director and I was trained to be a designer. I joined Olivier Saguez and the agency Saguez and Partners in 2004. Boris Gentine, Yann Mignot and both of us were lucky enough to work on projects as diverse as the new French high-speed trains that will connect Paris to Bordeaux, hotels, offices, shops, but also airports in France and Brazil, train stations… All these places of our daily lives; design is also about being useful.

Was moving important to you and your colleagues?

Jean-Philippe & Olivier

The agency is going to celebrate its 20th anniversary soon, and what we wanted was more than gathering our teams that were working at several floors. We wanted to embody a new way of working, a new organisation. One that would be easier, more collaborative, more fluid and open to the outside. We also created the first design school in an agency, which will open in March, and we will also have a restaurant, open to everyone, inside the agency. This connection to the life of the city matters a lot to all of us. For a company or an agency, like for a family, moving is a unique moment to build the future. It’s the perfect opportunity to filter, get rid of what we don’t need, take only what’s necessary and start over again for a new way of living together.

How did you design the new premises of Saguez and Partners? What was your role during this very special project?

Jean-Philippe

Our premises are a place to do things, a collaborative environment; that’s why we chose the name Manufacture Design. We created a new model of design agency open to life and to the city, half-campus, half-lab, half-studio, half-café… The idea was to gather all our colleagues in two floors, to make the conversation, our skills and the transversality between our jobs easier. Because the goal of our projects is always to be useful in the daily lives of people, and they don’t work in architecture, design or office hubs. So it was essential to mix our experiences to be more (re)active when it comes to the emergence of new uses. Olivier Saguez was the client for this project, Boris Gentine was in charge of the masterplan, Christophe Vergnaud, from the agency CV2A, was the architect. As for me, I mainly focused on the definition of the uses and the design of the furniture by Manganèse, a furniture design brand of Saguez & Partners.

Your philosophy is to be “as well at the office as at home”. How do you make it become real in the daily life of the agency?

Jean-Philippe & Olivier

The idea is even to feel better at the office than home! Something that would be with a team, cosier and more inspiring. This is why we brought so much attention and so many services to our offices. It all comes from a whole of little details. Just like in a hotel, we have a concierge service, the chimney fire for breakfast, what our chef Hervé cooks for us, fresh flowers, but also a Click & Collect system for the personal deliveries. It requires a high level of requirement and organisation; it’s exactly how it works in a hotel. But what matters most is that everyone plays along. It creates a specific atmosphere.

Jean-Philippe Cordina Portrait Chef de projet Architecte Agence Saguez and Partners Saint Ouen
Olivier Saguez Architecte Directeur Agence Saguez and Partners Saint Ouen
Salle de réunion Agence Saguez and Partners Saint Ouen
Salle de réunion Mobilier Table Marbre Agence Saguez and Partners Saint Ouen
Table marbre Agence Saguez and Partners Saint Ouen
Salle de réunion Agence Saguez and Partners Saint Ouen Papier Saguez and Partners Identité visuelle Agence Saguez and Partners Saint Ouen Livres Inspiration Agence Saguez and Partners Saint Ouen
Matériauthéque Agence Saguez and Partners Saint Ouen

Why did you choose this market building?

Jean-Philippe

The first Manufacture Design was already in an industrial building in Saint-Ouen. We are attached to these “making places” and we are linked to this market building. First of all, Olivier worked a lot for its preservation as a reminder-building in this neighbourhood undergoing reconstruction. It was important that the industrial past of Saint-Ouen left a mark in this new eco-neighbourhood. And then, we are in this market building, which used to be an assembly site for French high-speed trains, now that we are working with our neighbours, Alstom and SNCF (French rail network), on the design of the future generations of high-speed trains, but also future trains linking Paris to the suburbs and tramways in the region of Paris – the regional council of which is going to move just next to us, in the same street!

Can you tell us about how Saint-Ouen is evolving?

Jean-Philippe & Olivier

Saint-Ouen is known worldwide thanks to its flea market. The city is now renovating the zone of the docks, a neighbourhood which changes with two things in mind: sustainable development and social mix. The equivalent of the quarter of the city have been rethought as an eco-neighbourhood with the highest international standards. For example, the whole neighbourhood has its waste sucked, just like in Songdo, “the city of the future” in Korea. The sorted waste is sent to the city heating station, which sends this energy to the buildings in the neighbourhood.

Did you have particular references when you imagined the conversion of the place? 

Jean-Philippe & Olivier

We have been influenced by Brazil. There, the nature is everywhere in the city, there is green everywhere – and brown as well, the colour of the soil you can see on our facades. It is a peaceful and inspiring nature. We wanted this when we organised the agency around a tropical garden. The floor of the bamboo terrace enters the meeting rooms which all have a view on the garden. You can also see shades of greens on the ceilings and there are a lot of pots in the different floors.

You designed almost the whole furniture. What have your constraints and obligations been?

Jean-Philippe

When we create furniture, the constraints we have are the ones we impose to ourselves by observing the uses. Creating a useful, ergonomic, not that expensive furniture, while giving it an architectural identity, mainly thanks to the materials used. We created connected tables in front of which you can stand up or sit for different types of meeting. We also have a “Cherche Midi” collection, inspired by brasseries, for which we designed the chairs, stools, Quarella (materials made of marble scraps) café tables and even the seats thought as the former ones in trains, with their tube structures, and always with this attention to little details. For example, the tables and stools all have bag hooks.

Hall Agence Saguez and Partners Saint Ouen
Matériauthéque Marbre Agence Saguez and Partners Saint Ouen
Matériauthéque Chutes de tissus Agence Saguez and Partners Saint Ouen
Matériauthéque Agence Saguez and Partners Saint Ouen
Matériauthéque Marbre Agence Saguez and Partners Saint Ouen
Salle de réunion Agence Saguez and Partners Saint Ouen

Your agency is multidisciplinary. How are the different poles organised?

Jean-Philippe & Olivier

We are a global design agency. We developed several complementary skills which give us a rather complete vision of the daily life expectations. We work on the scale of the city and of the product, with always the same philosophy: the goal of design is not only to be beautiful. It led us to work on some neighbourhoods in the city, but also train stations, airports, trains, shops, changing offices… We think about the uses and the way people are going to live in these places.

Why is there no office in the ground floor?

Jean Philippe

Coming to the Manufacture Design is working with us in this space of more than 1000m², open on the garden, the city, and open to any collaboration, whether it is with the clients or with the partners. The Manufacture Design is first of all a place for exchange and sharing with our partners/clients. We wanted this ground floor to be an office-hotel to welcome them, so that they feel far from their everyday problems, in order to make them abler to innovate with us. And for us, it’s a friendly place where we meet for breakfast, at noon on the table d’hôte or at the canteen, and for sportspeople, at the gym.

Is there a particular place you like, where you like to shut yourself away?

Jean-Philippe & Olivier

The quick points, but not to shut myself away: to talk about our projects! They are well identified places in the agency and they are all different! The alcoves of the consultancy floor, the bivouac tent in the tropical garden, the picnic tables on the terrace, the quick points of 5, 10 or 15 minutes: they are inspiring, efficient, and we can work there both sitting and standing up. They are some for every type of situation.

Opening a school in your premises, having an urban way just in front of them, participating in the creation of a food covered market: tell us about all these projects!

Jean-Philippe & Olivier

We really want the agency to be part of the life of the neighbourhood. The new Manufacture is reinventing into an incubator lab for the “living together in the future”. We are currently working on the project of the food covered market which will take place in the rest of the market building. It will be the gastronomic part of Saint-Ouen flea market, a gourmet market in the heart of the neighbourhood where people will be able to go grocery shopping, eat at the butchery, have a drink with the wine merchant: actually a place to live and share! The school Design Act!, whose first school year will start in March, will offer a course post-diploma and mix designers and people who are not designers, so they could develop methods of co-design. The contact with students is really important to us. They make us wonder about great things. But our projects are not only in Saint-Ouen! We just worked for the AMP (Airport Marseille Provence), Air Liquide, the reconstruction of the exhibition centre Porte de Versailles in environmental design, with the creation of an eco-lounge hotel. There is also the Trinity project: three office-hotel towers, in the spirit of co-working in La Défense. We are currently preparing the furniture show in Milan, where we will be displaying our furniture collections with Manganèse, our furniture design brand.

Bureaux Mobilier Enveloppant Agence Saguez and Partners Saint Ouen
Bureaux Agence Saguez and Partners Saint Ouen
Livres Bibliothèque Rez-de-chaussée Agence Saguez and Partners Saint Ouen
Table Marbre Agence Saguez and Partners Saint Ouen
Restaurant Locaux Agence Saguez and Partners Saint Ouen
Locaux Poignée Chut Agence Saguez and Partners Saint Ouen
Olivier Saguez Bureaux Portrait Agence Saguez and Partners Saint Ouen

 Photography : Constance Gennari – Text :  Caroline Balvay @thesocialitefamily

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