Old Mustard with a new Outfit

Old Mustard with a new Outfit


In the city of Dijon in Eastern France, MVRDV are transforming a former mustard laboratory into a state-of-the-art call center.

Almost new, but unused already

When we talk about conversion, we expect an intense dialog between the old and the new. E.g. we think of exciting contrasts between modern usages and historical industrial areas. Compared with this, the transformation of a former mustard laboratory into a call center in the French city of Dijon sounds quite profane. Since instead of an old listed structure, in this case it’s a mustard laboratory, built in 2004 and vacant since 2009, without any architectural charisma.

Despite its relatively good condition, the building was unsuitable for any other usage due to its size and spatial breakdown. However, the telecommunication company Teletech got a hold on this in order to convert the functional building with its nearly 6,000 square meters of floor area at the river Ouche into a call center with a training and start-up center next door. Instead of refining traditional Dijon mustard, angry telephone customers or ones seeking advice are supposed to be supported from here.

Exemplary Transformation

A few weeks ago, Rotterdam bureau MVRDV was given the job of planning the project. Based on the possibilities of the already existing building and taking the low budget into consideration, not allowing for large-scale operations, the architects decided in favor of a well-balanced somewhere-in-between solution between a total conversion and an intelligent adaptation and new interpretation of the building. Towards the outside, the ornament-like structure of a barcode printed onto the façade is supposed to give the building a new identity, the interior is planned to be turned into a diversified work landscape with various spatial situations for the nearly 600 mainly young employees. Apart from that, a large window, multiple roof lights as well as an atrium are planned to be integrated in order to let plenty of daylight into the building.

Working like at Home

While designing the interior, MVRDV took the call center’s irregular business hours into consideration, mainly peak-hours in the morning, around noon and in the early evening. As a flexible response to the heavily varying number of employees, a flexible office concept has been developed with seat cushions and sofas to be used temporarily apart from the usual 8-hour shift-appropriate office areas. Similar to people’s living rooms, employees are supposed to be able to work with their laptops in an informal and relaxed manner. Apart from that, open areas take flowing turns with recreational areas or closed work cells. Employees are supposed to be able to log-in to the company’s Wireless LAN from any place inside the building.

After knocking-off time they will be able to attend adult evening classes, a gallery or the training and start-up center of Teletech, all inside the building. All in all an exciting concept which shows that even with a low budget vacant or unused buildings can be filled with new life. Due to the constantly growing cost pressure on the employer’s side we should expect that there’s more than a concept behind this individual solution. Maybe we all have to go and look for some free space for our own office work tomorrow. Boon or bane, who is to decide ...?

Project details


MVRDV, Rotterdam, The Netherlands


Completion: scheduled for 2012


GFA: 6,000 m²


Teletech international, Dijon, France


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admin's picture
admin 16. August 2011 - 22:05


admin's picture
admin 16. August 2011 - 22:11

Awesome ....

admin's picture
admin 16. August 2011 - 22:12


admin's picture
admin 16. August 2011 - 22:24

muy buena