Shift Paris: Ecological transition ― 

The radical transformation of the Shift office building in Paris was a rather special undertaking for Arte Charpentier Architectes: The original building, straddling the boundary between the 15th arrondissement of Paris and the district of Issy-les-Moulineaux, was designed and built by the same practice at the beginning of the 1990s -but since then, much has changed, both in the ideas of what an office building should accomplish, as well as in the available construction and finishing technologies. In its newest form, SHIFT is now conceived as an accelerator of transformation towards more collaborative ways of working and concerned about employee fulfillment, meeting ever more demanding standards of sustainability.

The heavy rehabilitation allowed the implementation of two major interventions that brought the building out of self-imposed isolation and allowed it to reconnect with the city, setting up a renewed dialogue with the immediate surroundings: the removal of the concrete façade panels and their replacement by a glazed envelope articulated by vertical projecting composite fins, as well as the creation of an internal atrium crossing the building from east to west, connecting the two streets and becoming a link between Paris and Issy-les-Moulineaux.

At the heart of the project is the central unifying space around which the daily working experience revolves offering comfort and conviviality, inspiration and creative thought, social interaction, and exchange. The offices, with varying depths, break with the usual monotony of standard layouts, and increase the possibilities for adaptation. The largely glazed façades allow natural light to be used as the main source of lighting.

A major architectural innovation, the vertical void located in the center of the building is overhung by a large glass roof. It houses a complex set of mezzanine balconies, connected by a monumental staircase, whose construction process was like a suspended mobile, from top to bottom.

Designed like a garden, SHIFT integrates plants into its interior with its 1,800 m² of private terraces, loggias, and balconies. The former technical roof has been transformed into a landscaped and green terrace on 2 600 m² offering real living spaces: an alternative outdoor workspace, a restaurant for lunch in the greenery, and 1,000 m² of urban agriculture, raising awareness of the notions of ecology and proximity.

Arte Charpentier are not new in trusting the performance of their specified colors to AkzoNobel: Already having made spectacular use of AkzoNobel powder coatings in their Tour Elithis in Dijon, Arte Charpentier chose to coat all metal components of the renewed SHIFT building in Interpon powders: The facades on Guynmer and Avia streets feature a silky RAL 7015 satin on the exterior and a textured RAL 7047 in the interior, the former also dressing the void façade and entrance, while the courtyard facades are dressed in a matt RAL 7035. The exterior fins are a custom construction, made by an Italian specialist using glass-fiber and resin, and they have been an object of extensive research and prototyping.

The powder coating technology used at the SHIFT, whose reconstruction was complete in 2018, is our Interpon D1036: a technology that produced ecological, durable powder coatings in many RAL hues, especially dear to architects. In the meantime, however, AkzoNobel has further developed its product durability, producing the Interpon D2525 technology: the same hues, and more, are now superdurable, covering a 30-year lifespan, complying with ever more demanding architectural specifications.

Within the modern and lively atmosphere generated by this interplay of raw and refined materials and a warm palette, Shift’s generous spaces exude a warm, welcoming ambiance.  Continuing the rhythmic theme of the façades set up by the vertical fins, the entrance lobby is finished in vertical battens in Beech.

Reinventing the uses and ways of working in an existing building, SHIFT operates an architectural and ecological transition of the building which aims at the double certification BREEAM “Excellent” and HQE “Exceptional”. SHIFT is a laboratory for experimenting with future practices, such as urban agriculture.


Architecture: Arte Charpentier Architectes

Colors featured:

Interpon RAL 7015 satin, code SL715JR

Interpon RAL 7047 textured, code SL347G

Interpon RAL 7035 matt, code SL835G