The French bank Société Générale commissioned LCR Architectes to carry out a major renovation of its Customer Relations Centre offices in Marseille that it has occupied for nearly twenty years. The work involved bringing the three floors, each of which measure more than 1,000 m2 (10,800 sq ft) back into compliance and above all “to clear out the former fittings and fixtures and redesign the whole area as a flex office space”, explains architect Keyvan Esna, who led the project. The aim was to adapt the premises to suit present-day practices and the quite young population of professionals who work there. “Your standard office layout doesn’t suit them at all”, he adds with a smile. Quite a challenge in a call centre that cannot be partitioned off…
Customer Relations Centre at Société Générale bank
“So, one of the basic requests”, Keyvan continues, “was to make a meaningful improvement in acoustic comfort”. This applied not only to the centre’s employees – groups of around twenty people, who are constantly online, but also concerned the psychological comfort of the callees, all customers of the bank’s branches. Baffles made of Stereo panels were therefore suspended in the corridors and the break time areas. The meeting rooms (i.e. the only closed areas) were fitted with islands of suspended Stereo panels and Vibrasto cladding. “But the sound-absorbing acoustic curtains enabled us to solve the most basic challenge – the separations”, Keyvan points out. “The curtains reduce reverberation a great deal, provide the flexibility sought by the customer and supply the basic comfort necessary for the teams to work properly.” The architects decided to install independent modules about 1.5 metres (5 feet) long, made up of two curtains joined with Texaa zip fasteners and hung on continuous rails. This arrangement gives users complete freedom to define spaces as they see fit and as often as they wish. Keyvan also explains how the project was to be carried out in three stages, while the premises were partially occupied. The ease with which the products were installed was a special benefit when meeting this requirement. Each floor featured a different palette of colours, ranging from ochre to yellow on one, from red to orange and from grey to red on the other two. “User feedback is very positive!” says Keyvan.
Project name: Customer Relations Centre at Société Générale bank
Year to be delivered: in 2023
Town-city / Country: Marseille
Project owner or contracting authority: Société Générale bank
Contractor: Lucie Petitjean of LCR Architectes
Photographer: Serge Demailly
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