Swiss architect Leopold Banchini’s permanent installation on the fourth floor of the Centre Pompidou in Paris is drawing attention from the design community and the public. Named 3-8, Leopold’s installation will be used by the museum as an educational space to host workshops and talks.
Desks, a kitchen and a garden area are hidden under raised office floors in the installation, which was created in collaboration with French designer, Laure Jaffuel. The space has been constructed to look like access flooring, which is often used to hide services and cabling in offices.
Sections of the floor can be lifted to reveal a variety of spaces beneath that users can change to suit their needs. The underfloor kitchen, for example, is hidden under seven floor panels. The kitchen is complete with a storage area, a sink and a rail where pans and cups can be hung. Another area when lifted reveals an embedded seating area that is lit by a wavy neon red light. Large flat-screen televisions as well as an area that is used to grow several small plants is also hidden beneath the floor.
The idea behind putting all the functional items underneath the raised floor is to create a flexible space that references the ideals behind the design of the Pompidou, which was famously developed by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers.
“Raised floors are a common element of office architecture. However, they seem to be disregarded by architects and are rarely used outside of their primary function. Hiding all the functional elements under the surface allowed us to completely free the space, but it is also a reference to utopian architecture developed at the same time as the beautiful architecture of the Centre Pompidou,” Leopold told Dezeen.com.
He also hopes that the installation will help people question the alienation that homogenised office design has led to.
“The installation is not trying to provide a new model for offices, it is merely meant to question the alienating office culture that we take for granted. The misappropriation of the office space should encourage us to highjack daily life objects and emancipate design from preconceived usages,” concludes Leopold.
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