2_4_DiscoverBenelux_Issue16_April2015_ALL_Q9_Scan Magazine 1 20/03/2015 20:35 Page 38
Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Innovative Architecture
Contemporary architects, timeless task Operating as an ideas laboratory, OFFICINE Architecture is concerned in projects from furniture to urban planning, using the partners’ creativity on structures from the totally modern to decidedly ancient. TEXT: MARTIN PILKINGTON | PHOTOS: KATRIN vIERKANT
“To create a concept means taking into account user needs, technology, aesthetics, and its place within the environment: barriers between disciplines must be broken down – a project is always a synthesis,” states the firm’s Ségolène Getti. The three partners met on a project nine years ago and founded OFFICINE Architecture in Paris in 2009. Ségolène Getti brings her love of detail, developed with John Pawson, and broad experience from international assignments with Philippe Starck. Franck Gaubin injects engineering knowledge and teaching experience (at ENSAPLv Paris Architecture School). Carmine Luongo adds cross-discipline capabilities gained working on urban schemes and from university researches on the metropolis in Italy, Paris and Beirut. “Working together primarily means the pleasure of exchanging ideas – discussion and debate. It’s also about our enthusiasm to offer new responses and perspectives to clients. Architecture is a team sport,” she avows.
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OFFICINE’s work is exceptionally varied: hotels and restaurants (like Brasserie Eclectic, in Paris, with Tom Dixon), but also health centres, lodgings for pensioners of limited means, and furniture design concepts. Ségolène continues: “We won’t be restricted by the scale or nature of projects.” A commission illustrative of that is the Lady’s Courtyard at the Abbaye de Sept-Fons.
shelter found in the thickness of the cloister wall itself.
The Lady’s Courtyard is a public enclave created within the abbey’s walls. The enclosing wall separating it from the exterior of the monastery literally opens to allow visitor access, and that breach marks the crossing-point between the external world and the closed monastic world. For serenity the courtyard was stripped of all previous construction. Work on pathways and lawns enhanced sightlines to historic buildings and centuries-old trees. It has the structure of a cloister, leading to the spaces open to the public: visiting rooms, refectory, exhibition area and shop, plus a homeless
“Although it’s not expected to last as long as a medieval cathedral time is a factor, in how it ages, how the patina develops,” says Ségolène: “We enjoyed composing a public space within the monk’s home that will endure as a new layer in the abbey’s life.”
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