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Very Up: A colourful workspace bubble in the Parisian gloom

Transforming Workspaces: Redesigning Very Up's Paris Office with Sustainability and Innovation

Very Up Parisian office
Very Up Parisian office - Celine Joudet Photography
BEFORE - Very Up Parisian office
BEFORE - Very Up Parisian office
AFTER - Very Up entrance
AFTER - Very Up entrance
Some time ago, I was approached by Very Up, a vibrant and forward-thinking company specializing in professional training, with operations in Lyon and newly expanding into Paris. Tasked with completely redesigning their 250m² Parisian space, my goal was to infuse it with dynamism and motivation while staying true to the company’s identity and ethos.

THE BRIEF

Addressing Immediate Needs: Overcoming Post-Pandemic Challenges

Initially, Very Up faced challenges with their office environment as employees slowly returned after the COVID-19 pandemic. The existing furniture, originally sourced from residential suppliers, was not suitable for office use and did not cater to employees’ needs. The office had a dull and uninspiring atmosphere, characterized by depressing grey tones that deterred people from wanting to spend time there. Recognizing the urgency to create a more inviting and functional workspace, the decision was made to swiftly refurnish the office. This marked the beginning of a transformative redesign journey focused on enhancing employee well-being and revitalising the office environment.
BEFORE - Very Up's kitchen
BEFORE - Very Up's kitchen
BEFORE - Very Up's kitchen
BEFORE - Very Up's kitchen
BEFORE - Very Up's workspaces
BEFORE - Very Up's workspaces
BEFORE - Very Up's workspaces
BEFORE - Very Up's workspaces

Revamping Very Up’s Parisian Space

Very Up is not just about business; sustainability and a youthful corporate culture are at its core. The challenge was clear: create a personalised, modular, and adaptable workspace that encourages collaboration and reflects their values.

KEY ELEMENTS

  1. Dynamic and Versatile Workspace: The brief emphasised the need for a dynamic and versatile workspace that could accommodate the diverse needs of Very Up’s team.
  2. Integration of Brand Identity: A fundamental aspect of the design brief was the integration of Very Up’s brand identity into the office space. This involved incorporating the company’s branding palette and distinctive shapes into the interior design, ensuring that every element of the workspace reflected the organization’s values and identity. The use of branded colors, shapes, and visual elements throughout the office space created a cohesive and immersive brand experience for employees and visitors.
  3. Emphasis on Sustainability and Creativity: Another key element of the brief was a strong focus on sustainability and creativity. The design aimed to use eco-friendly materials and practices, sourcing locally and incorporating elements of reuse and upcycling wherever possible. Additionally, creativity was prioritized in the design process, with playful and inspiring touches such as greenery, unique furniture pieces like the pouffe made from recycled fabric, and interactive spaces like the chalkboard-painted kitchen wall. These elements not only enhanced the aesthetic appeal but also contributed to a positive and engaging work environment aligned with Very Up’s values.

MY APPROACH & INSPIRATION

Assessing Needs: Insights from Employee Surveys

Before embarking on the redesign of the office, I prioritised gathering insights directly from the employees through a comprehensive survey. This allowed me to assess various aspects related to the workspace and identify key areas for improvement.

The survey covered essential topics such as the frequency of working from home, adequacy of storage space, daily phone usage, and customer visitation patterns. Through this process, valuable feedback emerged, highlighting specific elements that were lacking in the existing space.
Very Up x Rainbow Shaker - Employee survey
Very Up x Rainbow Shaker - Employee survey
It became clear that employees expressed a need for:
  • Comfortable workstations conducive to productivity
  • Incorporation of greenery and plants to enhance the environment
  • Creation of designated telephone booths for private conversations
  • Incorporation of quiet areas for focused work and concentration
  • Integration of inviting break rooms for relaxation and informal gatherings
  • Provision of well-equipped meeting rooms for collaborative sessions
Understanding these insights was instrumental in shaping the redesign strategy, ensuring that the new office space not only addressed existing challenges but also catered to the diverse needs and preferences of the Very Up team.

Brand Integration: Reflecting Identity Through Design

In approaching the redesign of Very Up’s Paris office, I was inspired by the challenge of seamlessly integrating their brand identity into the space. Drawing from their distinctive branding palette and shapes, my aim was to create a workspace that not only embodied their values but also resonated with their team and clients.

By incorporating the colours and shapes from Very Up’s branding kit, every element of the redesign became a reflection of their identity. From accent walls in their signature hues to dynamic geometric wall shapes, the office design became a vibrant extension of their brand narrative.
Very Up - Visual identity
Very Up - Visual identity
Rainbow Shaker x Very Up - Colourful entrance
Rainbow Shaker x Very Up - Colourful entrance
This deliberate integration not only enhanced visual consistency but also reinforced a sense of belonging and pride among employees, fostering a cohesive and inspiring environment.

Creating Dynamic Environments for Productivity

Drawing upon my signature style characterized by vibrancy, playfulness, and functional design, I incorporated a mix of bold colours, dynamic patterns, and innovative materials into the office redesign for Very Up.

My inspiration stemmed from the desire to craft a space that would motivate and uplift, similar to how vibrant colours and geometric patterns awaken the senses in a well-designed room. By strategically placing comfortable open-plan workstations, versatile collaborative areas, and thoughtful greenery, I aimed to create an atmosphere that encouraged engagement and creativity from the moment one steps inside.
Rainbow Shaker - Moodboard for Very Up
Rainbow Shaker - Moodboard for Very Up
The integration of dynamic design elements not only enhanced the visual appeal of the workspace but also contributed to a productive and inspiring environment conducive to collaborative work and innovation.

Eco-Friendly Redesign: Transforming with Reused and Second-Hand Furniture

Sustainability was paramount in the redesign of Very Up’s office, and it was imperative for me to prioritise the reuse of the client’s existing furniture and opt for second-hand sources wherever possible. This commitment led to approximately 90% of the office furniture being reused or sourced second-hand from Adopte Un Bureau, minimising waste and reducing the environmental impact of the project. 

Very Up - Original furniture
Very Up - Original furniture
Rainbow Shaker x Very Up - Break room
Rainbow Shaker x Very Up - Break room
Very Up - Original furniture
Very Up - Original furniture
Rainbow Shaker x Very Up - Kitchen
Rainbow Shaker x Very Up - Kitchen

Some of the second-hand furniture, along with the entire space, was given a colourful new life under the expert hands of the IDECO Peinture team.

Original lockers from Adopte Un Bureau
Original lockers from Adopte Un Bureau
Upcycled lockers by IDECO Peinture
Upcycled lockers by IDECO Peinture
Rainbow Shaker x Very Up - Open space
Rainbow Shaker x Very Up - Open space

Notably, a unique pouffe made from recycled fabric sourced from La Tête Dans Les Nuages—a repurposed hot-air balloon sail—adds a distinctive touch, embodying the office’s dedication to sustainability and creative reuse. Each piece of reused furniture brought character and history to the workplace environment, contributing to a more authentic and meaningful space.

Upcycled pouffe from La Tete dans les Nuages
Upcycled pouffe from La Tete dans les Nuages
Rainbow Shaker x Very Up - Break room
Rainbow Shaker x Very Up - Break room

For items that couldn’t be reused, custom-made furniture crafted from eco-friendly materials was sourced from OpenWood, showcasing the innovative workmanship and creativity of our trusted partners. Together, these efforts have resulted in a workspace that not only embodies sustainability but also sets a new standard for environmentally conscious office design, emphasizing quality and thoughtful aesthetics.

Bespoke wooden shelf from Openwood
Bespoke wooden shelf from Openwood
Bespoke wooden table from Openwood
Bespoke wooden table from Openwood
Bespoke collaborative desk from Openwood
Bespoke collaborative desk from Openwood

ADDITIONAL CHALLENGES & SOLUTIONS

Meeting Different Team Needs: Catering to Varied Workstyles

One challenge I encountered was the diversity of the team composition and work functions. The team consisted of individuals from different departments, including 9 people from Sales, 6 from Production, and 2 instructors. Each group had distinct workstyles and requirements, necessitating a workspace that could cater to diverse needs effectively.

The varying nature of tasks—ranging from client meetings and sales calls to production-related activities and instructional sessions—underscored the importance of creating a multifunctional environment. Our redesign approach focused on versatility and adaptability, ensuring that the office layout and amenities could accommodate different work modes seamlessly.

By incorporating flexible workstations, designated collaboration zones, private meeting rooms, and specialized areas tailored to specific tasks, we aimed to create a cohesive workspace that fosters productivity and collaboration across departments. This inclusive design strategy aimed to empower every team member to perform at their best while promoting a sense of unity and cohesion within the organization.
Rainbow Shaker x Very Up - Open space
Rainbow Shaker x Very Up - Open space
Rainbow Shaker x Very Up - The yellow collaborative room
Rainbow Shaker x Very Up - The yellow collaborative room
Rainbow Shaker x Very Up - Private office
Rainbow Shaker x Very Up - Private office
Rainbow Shaker x Very Up - Semi-private offices
Rainbow Shaker x Very Up - Semi-private offices
Rainbow Shaker x Very Up - Flexible meeting room
Rainbow Shaker x Very Up - Flexible meeting room

Addressing Future Growth: Scaling for a Larger Team

An additional challenge that shaped the redesign was the anticipated growth in their workforce. During the planning phase, it became evident that the team was set to expand significantly, with projections indicating an increase from 17 employees (many of whom worked from home 1 to 2 days per week) to approximately 35 team members within the next two years, with an estimated 30-40% of them working remotely.

This growth trajectory presented a unique challenge in designing a workspace that could efficiently accommodate a larger team while also accommodating a substantial portion of remote workers. The office layout needed to be flexible and adaptable, capable of supporting both in-person collaboration and remote work arrangements seamlessly.

Taking into account this projected expansion, my redesign strategy focused on creating an agile workspace that could scale alongside the company’s growth trajectory. This included optimising space utilization, incorporating versatile workstations, and integrating technology-driven solutions to facilitate effective communication and collaboration among distributed team members.

Layout Options and Decision

In response to the diverse needs and projected growth of Very Up’s team, I suggested two distinct layout options that aimed to optimise space utilisation and cater to varying workstyles.
The first layout option featured:
  • 2 collaborative spaces for team interactions and brainstorming sessions
  • 2 private spaces for focused work and confidential meetings
  • A large open space designed to accommodate up to 16 people, fostering a sense of openness and collaboration
  • A utility space with lockers for storage and organization
  • A modular meeting room that could be adapted for different purposes
  • A welcoming area blending a lounge with the kitchen, creating an expansive catering and social hub
Rainbow Shaker - First layout plan suggested to Very Up
Rainbow Shaker - First layout plan suggested to Very Up
The second layout option, ultimately chosen by Very Up, included:
  • 2 collaborative spaces for enhanced teamwork and creativity
  • 4 private spaces offering privacy and quiet for focused tasks and meetings
  • A smaller open space tailored for up to 8 people, integrated with a utility area featuring lockers and phone booths
  • A modular meeting room flexible enough to accommodate various meeting formats
  • A welcoming area centered around a large communal table, perfect for dining and informal gatherings
Rainbow Shaker - Second layout plan suggested to Very Up
Rainbow Shaker - Second layout plan suggested to Very Up
The decision to opt for the second layout option reflected a strategic choice to prioritise individual workspace needs while maintaining a cohesive and adaptable office environment. By providing a greater number of private spaces and optimizing the layout for efficient use of space, this design approach ensured that Very Up’s evolving team dynamics and diverse work requirements were effectively supported.

FINAL OUTCOME

Welcoming Entrance and Collaborative Area

Stepping through the entrance, visitors are immediately enveloped in a playful and uplifting ambiance, complete with touches of greenery. There’s no traditional reception desk; instead, a warm welcome greets you, effectively keeping the Parisian gloom at bay.
A stunning custom-made table crafted from local wood by Openwood dominates the space, inviting collaboration and camaraderie.
Very Up Parisian office
Very Up Parisian office - Celine Joudet Photography
Rainbow Shaker x Very Up - Plant wall by Pousse.fr
Rainbow Shaker x Very Up - Plant wall by Pousse.fr
Adjacent to this centerpiece, a high table delineated by a striking blue circle offers a perfect spot for focused work bathed in natural light amid potted plants.
Rainbow Shaker x Very Up - Blue focusing area
Rainbow Shaker x Very Up - Blue focusing area

Kitchen and Creative Conversations

The adjoining kitchen is thoughtfully designed for one-on-one conversations during coffee breaks, featuring a wall painted with chalkboard paint for free expression and creativity. This space encourages interaction and relaxation, fostering spontaneous brainstorming sessions and informal discussions over refreshments.

A Corridor leading to Versatile Workspaces

Moving beyond the kitchen, a luminous corridor unfolds, leading to an array of collaborative spaces and workstations tailored to employees’ diverse needs.
Very Up office corridor
Very Up office corridor
Whether for small group projects, client discussions, formal meetings, or solitary focus, there’s a space tailored for every task. The layout optimizes natural light and incorporates flexible furniture arrangements to accommodate various workstyles and project requirements.
Rainbow Shaker x Very Up - Colourful open space
Rainbow Shaker x Very Up - Colourful open space
Rainbow Shaker x Very Up - Private workspaces
Rainbow Shaker x Very Up - Private workspaces
Rainbow Shaker x Very Up - Manager's office
Rainbow Shaker x Very Up - Manager's office
Rainbow Shaker x Very Up - Flexible meeting room
Rainbow Shaker x Very Up - Flexible meeting room
Rainbow Shaker x Very Up - The blue collaborative room
Rainbow Shaker x Very Up - The blue collaborative room
Rainbow Shaker x Very Up - The yellow collaborative room
Rainbow Shaker x Very Up - The yellow collaborative room

Colourful Break Room: Relaxation and Recreation

A highlight of the redesigned office is the vibrant break room, where employees can unwind and recharge. This lively space features colourful decor and playful elements, providing a welcoming environment for relaxation and leisure activities. Employees can engage in friendly games, socialize over coffee, or simply take a moment to rejuvenate.
Rainbow Shaker x Very Up - Colourful break room
Rainbow Shaker x Very Up - Colourful break room
Rainbow Shaker x Very Up - Colourful break room
Rainbow Shaker x Very Up - Colourful break room

Summary: Achievements and Impact of the Redesign

In essence, the entire office is a celebration of joy and creativity—an antidote to gloom—where work, collaboration, and sharing thrive. It’s more than an office; it’s a living space designed to inspire and invigorate—a testament to Very Up’s commitment to creating environments that are not just productive but genuinely enjoyable.

PARTNERS

Meet the eco-friendly partner suppliers and trades who made this project possible:

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