The Paris Labour Exchange, located at 3 rue du Château d’Eau in the 10th district of Paris, is neoclassical in style, with a structure that typifies the Parisian union movement. It has meeting rooms for union organisations, reception facilities for information services and legal advice in labour law.
This renovation project involved grounding the building in time by enhancing the architectural features that convey the site’s historical significance. Built in 1896, the Paris Bourse du Travail is the first of its kind built in France and recalls the ground-breaking construction techniques of the era.
For the interior, a balance was sought between the monumental, the timeless and lightness. Each element added, both simple and dramatic in form, was made using a single material - hot rolled steel - making the intervention traceable throughout. The same detail is carried out in a variety of ways across tables, benches, lighting and display panels.
A stately chandelier illuminates the entrance hall. This design extends upwards for over 6 metres. Chains support an oversized metal ring that shines a soft, continuous and inviting light through multiple beams.
The reception area has been entirely reorganised in order to create a pathway accessible to everyone. Made of laminated steel, the reception desk stands at the site of the original Concierge’s station, whose walls have been coated in the same material.
The stratigraphic study of the paint, performed during the build, allowed the architects to reproduce the original colour palette and so to draw a link between the building’s past and present. Three complementary hues are repeated out across the different spaces.
The simplicity of the signage system showcases the dimensions of the space, its materials and the direction of the route to follow. Through a minimalist intervention, slanted panels have been delicately placed on the ground against the large stone columns referencing the original layout of the space.
The challenge met by the Boman studio was to create a simple and modern design that reflected and revitalised the historical significance of the site, thereby championing the feats of its workers.