Atelier YokYok designs Bois Debout, a sustainable installation

Atelier YokYok,

Atelier YokYok,




Bois Debout, meaning “wood standing up”, is the name of an installation made of recycled solid wood by Atelier YokYok. The Paris architects designed the work for the new RATP Habitat offices in Paris, a building designed by Atelier du Pont Architectes.

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Atelier YokYok designs Bois Debout, a sustainable installation
RATP Habitat is the social housing branch of RATP, a real estate group in the Île-de-France region which stands out for its projects combining innovation and social integration with architectural and environmental quality. For the new offices of RATP Habitat designed by Atelier du Pont Architectes and completed in 2021, the architects invited YokYok to come up with a plan for the foyer in the centre of the building in Rue de Bagnolet, in the 20th arrondissement of Paris. 
The new headquarters consist of a three-storey volume skilfully blending architecture with landscape design and allowing users to make the most of outdoor space with a series of south-facing terraces. The new headquarters of a social housing company could only be a manifesto of attention to sustainability, both environmental and social, and glulam poles and beams are glued together to form a new structure which makes use of the foundations of the existing underground parking lot to limit the need for underground work. Use of wood offers several benefits: it is a renewable resource and helped reduce the impact of the construction site in this high-density neighbourhood.
The work surfaces in the interior layout are designed to be flexible and adaptable. As we may read on the Atelier du Pont website: “The project was designed to promote interaction and exchange among everyone who works here, both in and outdoors.”
The atrium of this building is the setting of Bois Debout, an installation by YokYok, the artistic design studio founded in 2015 by Samson Lacoste and Luc Pinsard. YokYok’s work is positioned somewhere between art and architecture, evolving around the human body, materials and sensory experiences. True to their philosophy of design, the architects propose an architectural project that encourages interaction with other users of the same space. 
According to the architects of YokYok, “the challenge was to provide, through art, an unconventional space that brings identity, interacts with the surrounding architecture and offers an experience for the users.” On the basis of this idea, they created a miniature landscape made entirely of wood. The floorboards are made of solid wood from old dismantled frameworks and, like the vertical elements, have been cut, trimmed and planed to be used for their new purpose. The architects also recycled old floorboards.
In formal terms, Bois Debout is a sculpture evoking the world of plants, that is, trees, in a graphic style very similar to that of the YokYok logo, covering the entire height of the 13-metre-tall atrium and receiving light from the skylight above. 
Seats at the base of the installation make the atrium an agora, a gathering-place in which to read, chat, have a cup of coffee, or host private events, with a bar and a DJ set: the vibrant heart of the building, a clear reference to its vocation of representing architecture that is sustainable in every way.

Christiane Bürklein

Project: Atelier YokYok
Location: Paris, France
Year: 2021
Images: YokYok


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