Dutch architects MVRDV have completed a transformation of a disused Dijon Mustard laboratory into a call centre in Dijon, France. Completion of the 6500 square metre refurbishment into a 600-work-space call centre for operator Teletech has cost only 4 million euros, leaving intact the maximum amount of existing structure and services.
The building is a former Unilever Amora Dijon mustard laboratory. Completed in completed in 2004, in closed five years later in 2009. Despite its good state at the beginning of the project, due its wide volume the building wasn't suitable for traditional work spaces. The construction budget was too low to exchange the façade or make serious alterations to the structure, so the façade was extended and stickered with QR flashcodes. These are translated into the activities of the company and the façade acts as communicator of the transformation.
Rush-hours create an imbalanced and irregular workday. Therefore, the inside of the call centre allows operators to have flexible spaces: they can log in anywhere they want inside this work landscape. Silent, open or secluded places are offered. The way young people often work — with a laptop on the sofa or bed — was an inspiration for the interior design: the space needs to appeal to the operators to work the way they like. The space will be informally furnished with homely objects to provide a creative working environment.
Outside the rush hours, call centre operators will have free time in which they can make use of the education centre, fitness centre, a gallery, and a projects incubator, also located inside the building. A big window, entresol spaces, skylights and a large atrium are used to create a community feeling and allow daylight to penetrate the 40 x 70 metres volume. The ground floor contains parking and cannot be inhabited as the building is located on a flood plain.