The Nouvel approach: designing an office for living

“We need to change behaviour, plan and think about work in an alternative way: an office, wherever it may be, must be a space in its own right, identifiable, transformable, full of humanity, full of history and objects, just a pleasant place”. According to Jean Nouvel, the notorious French architect, the office space should never be designed as a banal environment.


Proposed office style

Nouvel showcased his vision for office habitats in a vast installation called Project: Office for Living at the 2013 Salone Internazionale in Milan.

He proposed a totally different approach in style.

Rather than the cold, identical, box-office space with similar furniture and bland colour schemes, he explored how stylistic changes could alter the way people work in their office. He saw the way people interacted with their colleagues and he wanted to design a space to facilitate this.

A office design with industrial style.

Image: Dezeen

A living space

By explaining that workers spend more of their time in the workplace during the day than at home, Nouvel advocated that the workplace needs to be considered as a proper living space.

For Nouvel, the office should to be more like one's own home; comfortable and liveable, a place where people are happy to be, yet also a place where people can work and interact easily with others around them.


Furnishing the living space

In Nouvel’s installation, the furniture and materials were more diverse and contextualised to the office requirements and space.

The furniture pieces were organised in an integrated way to show that elegance can have a place in these newly conceived lived-in offices.

Organised style design, with several shelves and a seat in the middle of the room.

Image: Dezeen

Lifting the mood and increasing productivity

Importantly, Nouvel modernised the concept of the workplace by changing the way people interacted within their office environment.

For people working in a Nouvel designed office, they find that the space is a more enjoyable place to work. They are more productive because they are less isolated and work in a more natural “liveable” environment.


Designing for the home

The installation also focused on reimagining the office space for people who work from home and the requirement to include office equipment in a home environment.

Nouvel looked at the home space and converted it so that it was adaptable to different needs and work habits. He helped make work and lifestyle more compatible.

Nouvel’s philosophy is now more relevant than ever. His concepts are considered crucial for a good office design project.


Celebrated architect

Born in 1945, Jean Nouvel has won a number of prestigious awards over the course of his career. These include:

All images © Dezeen

The links included here are provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only. We bear no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of any external site or for any content on subsequent websites, nor does the inclusion of these links constitute our endorsement or an approval of any products, services or opinions stated.

Add new comment

Written by: Simone Leonelli

We're here to help

Our experienced team can answer any questions you have about our courses and the payment options available. We can also advise you on the materials you need to get started. Whether you want to change career, upskill, or simply learn the basics, we have the right course for you.

Just contact us and we will arrange to call you back.

Contact Us

British Academy of Interior Design ©2024