“We create an ecosystem that breeds innovation in regards to consumption and collaboration in the field of food”- Baptiste Bernier, Volumes, Paris
Volumes is the brainchild of 4 Paris-based co-founders, 3 architects one video maker, who wanted to create a space that would be home to their varied interests, which includes everything from cooking, urbanism, collaborative work, art and politics.
Volumes was developed around the concept of three main centers: a coworking place with about 50 working places (20 for residents, 30 for nomads), a maker space and a food lab. We spoke with co-founder Baptiste Bernier, about how Volumes aims to create synergies amongst a community defined by varied interests, skills, and personalities.
One of the most notable things about Volumes is the “Foodlab”. Can you tell us a bit more about the philosophy behind the concept?
The Foodlab has been conceived in the same spirit as the rest of the space. We offer a range of professional equipment, and aim to develop a community around the topic of food. This community can include anyone from chefs, bloggers, foodies, vegans, etc. We want to create a favourable ecosystem that will breed innovation in regards to consumption, best practices, and collaboration.
Why did you decide to develop a food lab? What role does that play in the workplace and wow does it add value to the space?
Having a real and professional kitchen is an important asset. Not only because it draws a more specific kind of coworker, looking for specific equipment, but also because it offers a friendly space where people can relax and meet in a warm atmosphere, while also cultivating relationships through cooking together or enjoying delicious dishes.
The Foodlab is inspired by the role that food often plays in French and Italian culture. In the worst moments of stress and disagreement, we can all agree when seated around a lovingly prepared meal! It’s not a coincidence that there is a saying in France that most great contracts are signed over a good meal…
The coworking scene is relatively well developed in Paris, how did you find a space where you could position Volumes?
Volumes should have started its adventure about a year ago, in another place. Although the coworking scene is developing quickly, it is still difficult to find space that is big enough and also a challenge to convince property owners that coworking is a legitimate movement.
Thus, we had to change our plan and to decided to settle down in the North East of Paris where the coworking community is the most advanced. Yet, for us it’s a great opportunity to collaborate with other coworking places! Because Volumes offers an innovative concept, based on the mixing of different activities, equipment, spaces, and because we interested in a collaborative approach, we had to have a creative vision when choosing where to establish our space.
What are some of the services you offer to your tenants? What are some of the different needs/expectations of your members when compared to other coworking spaces?
We offer a global ecosystem based on improving and developing coworker’s activities. During Paris Design Week, a collective of eight independent designers came together to make a proposal. Over the course of 8 days, they co-conceived and co-created an installation that they could present during a vernissage. Everything, from the first to the last step, was done in Volumes.
What happened during Design Week shows what we can offer our members. We can provide the technical support people need in order to develop a project from ideation to the final stage, including the finer details, such as catering for a launch party and additional skills, like video and illustration needed to present the project.
In your opinion, is coworking self-sustainable? And, if not, how can the movement improve?
Coworking is not only self-sustainable, but it also provides new opportunities for a growing population of freelancers and start-ups. However, coworking is still an emerging activity that needs to be more structured so we can better understand the wide range of spaces and services provided.
It could be possible that everybody could work in a coworking place, but not in all coworking places. A better understanding and an increase in communication may help future coworkers find the best place to meet their needs and desires. There is now a brand-new collective of Parisian spaces, Collectif des Tiers Lieux, which will launch a communication campaign within next few months.