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Above the Grande Épicerie de Paris, on the upper floors of Bon Marché, Moët Hennessy recently unveiled their new workspace that sprawls across over 10,00 square meters in what is considered to the gastronomic heart of Paris. Designed by Barbarito Bancel Architectes, the studio worked to capture the idea of "enthusiasm, curiosity, and pleasure" within the spatial exploration of the office design. These three keywords provided the Parisian studio with an aesthetical and design guide that guided how they approached Moët Hennessy's office which also reflects the conditions of our current time.
The space is backed by a history that dates back to 18th century origins of the two-spirit companies that make up Moët Hennessy. While well-known now, it was established in 1971 by the merger between the champagne producer Moët & Chandon (1743) and the cognac producer Hennessy (1765). In 1987, the company merged with fashion house Louis Vuitton (1854) to form LVMH (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton) and is one of the largest fashion conglomerates in the world today. A staple in the world of luxury and lifestyle design, the interior design had to reflect Moët Hennessy’s values, raising the stakes for both aesthetics and utility. Adding to the challenge is the complex nature of contemporary workspaces.
In an increasingly "augmented and algorithmic" society, are digital offices still able to convey feelings? Attempting to highlight and renew peer relationships, spaces initially deemed as productive become a place to live or a place of empathy, promoting personal growth, confidence, pleasure, well-being, and sharing. Designed in partnership with the in-house team at Moët Hennessy, particularly Sylvie Atienza, Director of Human Resources, the office space is steadily transformed. At first glance, the quality of the architectural space is visual. The colour palette and the furnishings have been carefully selected to resonate with the essence of the brand’s aesthetical language.
At the same time, the furniture and lighting design are meant to address the invisible notions relating to individual feelings and well-being, that go beyond immediate or physical comfort. Today’s workspaces have to be capable of replicating and developing qualities similar to those of living spaces. It is perhaps one of the lasting and transformative effects of the work-from-home and global lockdown of 2020 and 2021. Some of the key spatial requirements involve the office’s ability to create emotions, stir the senses, offset the expansion of virtual space, and the presence of digital technology. These were identified as the new requirements that the studio had to fulfil.
Another element that informs the interior design is the studio’s desire to enhance the site’s Art Deco heritage. Driven by the vision of Philippe Schaus, the company’s President, Barbarito Bancel, aimed to create a tailor-made space that brings out the potential of the mid-century architecture and its hidden virtues. Ivana Barbarito and Benjamin Bancel founded their namesake agency in 2011; with over 10 years of experience the duo approaches their project with "common sense, high standards, and quality". The design falls within the parameters of a sustainable project and embodies the group’s development strategy in order to initiate a cultural transformation.
Before creating a workspace that embodies Moët Hennessy's values, it is essential to also evaluate what these values are. “Excellence, know-how, craftsmanship, attention to detail, the authenticity of materials, nobility without ostentation, the festive spirit, the pleasure of celebrating, the art of living and the art of tasting,” Moët Hennessy’s values stem from its long history that has constantly grown. The project attempts to use natural light as a raw material and frames vistas that lead towards the Parisian urban landscape or look inwards to the central patio and its garden. This combination is Barbarito Bancel’s attempt to define the brand's requirements and values.
The interior planning also tries to achieve a balance between shared spaces and individual spaces, with an efficient organisation between serviced spaces and served spaces, security and serenity. Considered to be a comprehensive and holistic design the elements within are tailor-made, from the glazed steel frames in the facade, to the removable partitions, and the design of the furniture. In many ways, the project is an architectural, human, and entrepreneurial exploration conducted with the desire to combine efficiency, elegance, and emotions.
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