Snapshot: Jean Nouvel Constructs a Conceptual “Office for Living” in Milan

As Rem Koolhaas‘s new countertop continues to turn heads at the Knoll booth, elsewhere at the Salone del Mobile fellow starchitect Jean Nouvel is further exploring the possibilities of the likable workplace. He tapped the help of luminaries from all across the creative disciplines — although it’s not nearly a cheerful-looking.

“I am fond of my desk, just as I am fond of my car, and there is a certain analogy between the two objects: both provide an opportunity for travel. My car enables my physical self to travel through space and my desk enables my mind to travel, plan, and daydream.” — Alain Fleischer

Writer and director Alain Fleischer, artist Michelangelo Pistoletto, fashion designer agnès b., and photographer Elliott Erwitt leant their voices and inspiring words to Nouvel’s epic installation. On giant screens, their faces stood at the intersection of four dramatically dark chambers built to display newly-launched office furniture and accessories in home-themed groups: “Work In an Ancient Apartment” (its floorplan follows that of an old European apartment, which is so much more inviting than the typical office); “Working From Home” (arranged in a seemingly domestic space in which the utilitarian furniture seems right at home); “Warehouses, The New Loft Workspaces” (because the adaptive reuse of ancient urban spaces as hip clubs and artists’ spaces is so last decade, they should become hip offices instead); and “4 Designers in the Office” (where kooky designs by Ron Arad, Marc Newson, Michele de Lucchi, and Philippe Starck are on display).

Nouvel’s entire point — the themes, the arrangements, and the voices — was to point us in the direction of a potential future where actually enjoy where we work. (Personally, I’d enjoy working by the light of the circular Newsom lamp on the left.)

— Janelle Zara