Discovering the inspirational next-generation workplaces in Aix-Marseille

Discovering the inspirational next-generation workplaces in Aix-Marseille
Visit to thecamp, the innovation campus in Aix-en-Provence
07 June 2023 / Grow your business, invest in provence, Start your business

Provence Promotion, UBIQ, and Euroméditerranée joined forces to promote innovative workspaces and ready-to-use offices

As part of its influence program to showcase the territory’s economic advantages and business appeal, Provence Promotion and Euroméditerranée organized an exclusive tour of inspiring and innovative workplaces in the Aix-Marseille-Provence metro area.

Representatives from the leading French office search platform and office property market analyst Ubiq and the Next Workplace collective along with four real estate directors from major companies (Accor, Danone, EY, and Allianz) took part in this initiative. The tour took them from Aix-en-Provence to Marseille and included stops at thecamp, the Tour Mirabeau, and the Pernod Ricard headquarters.

This event, which took place on June 1 and 2, was inspired by the Workplaces of the Future tours that are regularly organized by Provence Promotion and its partners, including Euroméditerranée, the Port of Marseille-Fos, and Marseille Provence Airport.

As one of France’s top office real estate experts, Ubiq assists companies in their search for workspaces throughout the country. The firm’s name is a reference to ubiquity and it reflects the ideal of having flexible, omnipresent workspaces that meet the needs of new work trends that have become more widespread in France following the Covid-19 pandemic. A large part of the business world is now working on adapting offices and locations to optimize both surface area and functionality.

Hybrid offices and hospitality: finding inspiration in Aix-Marseille

Together with the Ubiq and Next Workplace teams, executives responsible for real estate or work environments from Accor, Danone, EY, and Allianz came to Aix-Marseille in search of inspiration. As their workforce requirements have evolved, they aspire to optimize available space by creating convivial, versatile, user-friendly, and outward-looking work environments.

“As Deputy Director of Work Environments for France with the Danone Group, my aim is to offer a ‘hospitality’ experience across all our workspaces, one that takes into account the company’s values and history. The modern office is reinventing itself to develop collaborative ecosystems, foster social ties, and encourage audacity and innovation,” explained Manuel Martins, who took part in the tour to discover the opportunities in the Aix-Marseille area.

A visit to Pernod Ricard France’s head offices at the Docks Village in Marseille offered a concrete example of this hybrid approach to workspace and was a vibrant example of connections to the outside world thanks to its nearby leisure, shopping, and restaurant areas.

Aix-Marseille: workplaces as diverse as the territory itself

"The locations we visited are representative of the diversity and richness of the area,” emphasized Manuel Martins, who has been rethinking Danone’s facilities in France since 2022 to find the best response to the increasing hybridization of work.

The Euroméditerranée international business district in Marseille offers a wide range of business centers, high-rise office buildings, and co-working spaces with a host of associated services, all in a dynamic, rapidly changing neighborhood. With their ultra-modern architecture, the Tour Mirabeau and La Marseillaise buildings have been designed with flexibility, employee well-being, and a new workplace experience in mind.

“At present, the real estate departments of major companies in France are exploring territories to set up operational offices that can offer fully-equipped, ready-to-use spaces. This approach aims to fulfill the needs of employees working remotely who still want to meet in areas close to their place of residence,” explained Mehdi Dziri, the Managing Director of Ubiq, who worked with Provence Promotion to set up the tour.

Technologies for sustainable and connected buildings in Aix-Marseille

Faced with the evolving needs of companies, real estate managers are now placing great importance on the security standards and connectivity of their workspaces. They ensure that their structures offer robust IT architecture, high-speed internet connections, and digital equipment and tools that can facilitate both remote working and access to the company’s various sites and facilities.

While discovering thecamp, an innovation campus outside of Aix-en-Provence, and its fablab dedicated to digital, technological, and environmental transformations, the delegation benefited from a presentation of numerous B2B case studies in fields such as 5G, AI, and IoT. These showed the possibilities of more advanced office services, notably regarding sustainable building management with greater respect for the environment and the well-being of occupants. This aspect of the visit was of particular interest to Roslin Mienagata, the Facilities Manager at EY.

“Finding innovative solutions that not only facilitate the operational use of buildings but also support the company in its challenges to create attractive workplaces, enhance the employer brand, and retain talent is a highly strategic question at EY. The visit to thecamp was an invaluable opportunity to immerse ourselves in a unique working environment where environmental responsibility, innovation, and creativity are combined to create the city and services of tomorrow. The fablab at thecamp opens an immense field of possibilities, with various real estate applications such as the 5G indoor network developed locally by the teams, the on-board artificial intelligence incorporated in the Devisubox, and lightweight digital mock-ups for building operations,” said Roslin Mienagata.

Making property managers aware of the opportunities in Aix-Marseille

Among the places discovered on the tour were co-working sites in downtown Marseille, such as Startway Préfecture, a space located in a magnificently renovated 18th-century building, and Babel Community Vieux-Port, which offers a unique working experience with its rooftop space and co-living concept.

“These experiences had a very positive impact on my overall vision of the area and really highlighted the dynamic and creative economy. The presence of such collaborative and flexible workspaces shows the territory’s capacity to adapt to the needs of workers, entrepreneurs, and forward-looking companies,” noted Siegrid Duteil, the director of work environments for the Accor Group in France, who will use the visit to Aix-Marseille as a springboard for further reflection on innovative workspaces.

Similarly, Carlos Martins, the Head of Workplace Innovation at Allianz France, came away from the two-day program with a completely different image of the Aix-Marseille metro area. “You have revealed a dynamic, modern, and young metro area. It’s good for our major companies to know this because they need assurances before setting up operations in the territory. With work becoming hybrid and flexible, we now need to open up different areas and accelerate their economic growth by giving companies and people the opportunity to contribute.”

And Ubiq’s Mehdi Dziri added: “Aix-Marseille has all the right conditions to welcome companies, and it’s a really interesting economic opportunity. This is fertile ground and there’s real momentum for your territory. What’s more, Aix-Marseille is such a fantastic place to live!”

> If you are a real estate manager and would like to come and discover innovative workplaces in Aix-Marseille, please contact Alexandre Venec, the Marketing & Communication Manager for Provence Promotion.