Sustainable and flexible, the ‘at the same time’ of design


Sustainable development should be declared as a great international cause, for the survival of the world in general, and the real estate world in particular. It is a major issue for designers. As to the question of project ageing, the dual response is ‘at the same time’:

  1. Places that are as sustainable as possible, built with materials that age well, a frugal design, that is energy efficient and adapted to ecological practices.
  2. Spaces designed to evolve rapidly, to be flexible and easily reversible in terms of activities and uses.

Oliver Saguez, Designer, President and Founder of Saguez & Partners

The designer thinks of the places of today to adapt to the uses of tomorrow. Housing that can be transformed into offices; administration buildings into shops, etc. Who would have thought, fifty years ago, that a post office or a swimming pool would become 5 star hotels (Le Brach, Le Molitor), that an SNCF railway station inaugurated in 1900, would become the second most visited museum in Paris (Musée d’Orsay), that a seventeenth century "Hospice des Incurables" would become the head office of one of the world's leading luxury goods groups (Kering)?

Mixed-use places for people who mix activities

The time is over for places designed for a single use. These days, they are flexible, multi-use places, conceived for the same person who works on the train, plays sport in the office and shops from home. The person who is a professional, wife, mother and committed citizen, who carries out her activities throughout the day combining multiple places of transport, work, shopping, leisure, culture and social networks.

Experience-based design provides solutions during the various activities of her day, evolving over time with future uses. The spaces have become flexible, airports, originally designed to transport passengers and goods, have become shopping centres, hotels, a place for coworking and wellbeing services. In our Manufacture Design, the gym, after a morning fitness session, converts into a brainstorming space. The equipment, such as balls and foam cubes, is used for seating, while the magnetic mirror serves as a white board. The cafeteria hosts workshops and presentations in the afternoon. The office / cafeteria furniture is discretely connected to move from relaxation mode at lunchtime to activities that change the way we work.

The quicker the uses evolve, the more sustainable and flexible must be the thinking behind the design.

The role of the designer revolves fundamentally around the uses, the thinking about how behaviour and activities will evolve. His or her design of places is at the same time sustainable, flexible and changeable: enlarging, reducing, with the lowest possible economic and ecological impact. Located in the first mixed eco-district of Greater Paris, the Manufacture Design has adopted the highest possible construction and sustainable practices standards: above all a good plan, a low carbon footprint wooden construction, low energy consumption installations, perfect acoustic and thermal insulation, rustproof materials, etc.

The place remains, the uses evolve. The designer’s vision integrates their transformation to enable cohabitation between different uses at different times of day, now and in the future.