2022 - 1000 m2 - Design & Build
Cronos Europa, a company specialising in digital solutions for European institutions, called on Alternativ to design its Brussels offices. Mission (im)possible: to enable the teams to come back to inspiring workspaces imbued with a homely spirit. “It was a challenge that Alternativ met hands down,” says Olivier Van Baerlem, CFO of Cronos Europa, adding, “we have our sights set on a project involving the fourth floor using the same team, which shows how satisfied we are with this co-creation.”
After the COVID period, many companies asked themselves how they should get employees who had been working remotely from home back into the office. How do you motivate teams to come back on site? After all, getting staff back into the office is essential to encourage group cohesion or create the sense of competitiveness that is crucial for developing better productivity. We know that even discussions by the water cooler play an important social role by facilitating exchanges and conviviality. But meeting face to face is principally built on creating a desire to return to the office.
“Our premises were renovated in 2018, in a very cold, industrial style, where concrete was king and the layout of the offices was problematic. In contrast, Cronos Europa wanted warm offices where its employees felt comfortable in a homely atmosphere,” Olivier Van Baerlem begins.
Co-creation – we talk to each other
Apart from the financial department, which has an isolated, enclosed office for obvious reasons of confidentiality, we proposed a collaborative open-plan space, with compartmentalised zones dedicated to concentration and zones dedicated to relaxation and creativity. Hence the origin of this great little billiard room! “This was in our specifications. It is a relaxation room for bringing teams together. We can use it to informally celebrate a successful tender, or more formally to comment on a status report, for example. This area also allows us to accommodate our many consultants when they are not working with clients. We really wanted this place, and Alternativ has translated this wish into a convivial reality. It’s a great example of co-creation.”
Olivier Van Baerlem also praises all the functional and technical solutions provided by the team run by Mireille Georges, Project Manager at Alternativ, in an apartment building that was not historically used for office space, and applauds the creativity of the design and the implementation of the workspace. “Our employees were delighted with the vast kitchen, which invites everyone to choose their own dining area and seating, the stylishness of the floor coverings, the choice of warm light and the really cosy, chic colour scheme.
The need for one person or a group of people to isolate themselves should not be neglected in professional office design. Phone cubicles must therefore also be provided. If an open space is to contribute to strengthening conviviality, communication and exchange, it needs to be redesigned to meet everyone’s needs, particularly the need to make or receive a phone call, and more. “We recruit multiple employees and we usually meet candidates in a phone cubicle. At the moment, all our phone cubicles are in use. This is a choice by Alternativ that I approve of 100%, just like our collaboration, which was marked by numerous exchanges and a thorough understanding of the project and its challenges by Mireille Georges’ team. Cronos Europa is planning a fourth floor project using the same team, which shows how satisfied we are with this co-creation and collaboration.”
Project Manager: Mireille Georges
Designer : Jennifer Boterdael