120 years ago, on 19th July 1900, it was opened in time for the World Fair: the Paris Métro. And even today, 120 years on, the extensive underground railway network with its characteristic stairways and historic stations reflects the typical French lifestyle. Alongside the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame and the Louvre, it’s a true icon of Paris. But behind the scenes it’s not so much a whiff of nostalgia – it’s more a wind of change that should give the municipal public transport operators a boost in a more competitive environment.
Groupe RATP, the French public transport operator in charge of this legendary system, has been under some degree of pressure in recent months. The reason is that France intends to open up its local train services to competitors. The company is undergoing restructuring to ensure that they are better prepared for the new requirements and put things on track for future success. Their goal: to implement the right working methods to achieve more agility, to encourage diversity, and to be more efficient at putting young people’s ideas into practice.
Groupe RATP has 63 000 employees and transports around 12 million passengers a day on buses, trams and boats – achieving a revenue of 6 billion Euro last year. This project, in which König + Neurath was involved, was one of the first phases of this reorientation. The department of Engineering and Project Management, which was previously split across two sites, will now be consolidated in a new office in Fontenay-sous-Bois. They expect to improve communications with this strategy, as well as achieving efficiency across all work processes.
The French sales division, headed by Jean-Michel Vezzoli and Marie-Laure Piget, with a motivated project team and our dealer DIXIT redesigned the premises with a floor area of 33 000 square metres, outfitting it with furniture systems such as JET.II, QUIET.BOX, TALO.S and NET.WORK.PLACE Organic. After analysing the work culture, a total of five space concepts were created.
The concept of zoning can be made really easy to understand nowadays with colour coding. The individual colours are used in the ACTA.PLUS lockers and identify the different areas. Colours play a key role in the overall concept, which is bright and well balanced. Vibrant yellow, berry shades, lime green, orange and blue are matched with light wood and warm shades of grey, so that the design in combination with the open-plan format creates an attractive space for communication and relaxed conversation.
The TALO.S workstation system with motorised height adjustment promotes healthy working, while the NET.WORK.PLACE Organic communication areas are the perfect setting for coming up with ideas over a coffee. The scene is set for a space brimming with variety and interest that should be conducive to visionary projects involving self-driving shuttles and new mobility services.
One of the criteria for awarding the entire project was that the chosen manufacturer or dealer needed to have 104 furniture types in their portfolio. Do you realise how many product ranges there are at König + Neurath? There are 73 standard product families. But that wasn’t the only reason we were so well placed to implement this project. We demonstrated some imaginative details at the mock-up. We were able to offer bench workstations with gas lift and develop alternatives to locker units and bench systems – as well as providing 27 types of meeting table.
Jean-Michel Vezzoli, Head of Sales König + Neurath France, talking about the product requirements in this project