A timber office at the edge of Paris embraces its users ‘like protective arms’

A timber office at the edge of Paris embraces its users ‘like protective arms’

Architects Atelier Du Pont designs Woody, a new office building for the French public healthcare agency, near the Bois de Vincennes in Paris

French studio Atelier du Pont has designed an office for Santé Publique France, the French public healthcare agency, and the structure has been nicknamed ‘Woody’; quite fittingly so, given that the building is made entirely out of timber. 

The new office, located at the edge of the Bois de Vincennes, draws its inspiration from the nature of the nearby public park (the largest in Paris). The architects worked on a composition that highlights the use of wood. The same material is featured everywhere from frame to floors, ceilings and walls, including an impressive cascading central staircase and bespoke furniture throughout. 

Photography: Takuji Shimmura

The overall shape feels light and porous, conceived to appear ‘like a bundle of sticks placed on the ground that branch out like open, protective arms,’ explains the team. ‘This design symbolizes the mission of this institution, which oversees the health of everyone who lives in France.’ 

The design promotes a pleasant environment and wellbeing for its employees. The natural and recyclable construction procedures and materials used are all free of solvents and plastics; the staircase not only looks spectacular, but has also been strategically placed to encourage people to climb up it, instead of taking the lift; and common areas were created to foster interaction and socialising.

The building includes workspace, but also several cafes spread across the various levels, as well as a restaurant. Meanwhile large terraces outside allow the activity inside to spill out towards the surrounding gardens with views over the wooded park. §

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