LaboBrain and LaboShop by Mathieu Lehanneur

French designer Mathieu Lehanneur has designed a shop and work space for Le Laboratoire in Paris, France.


The work space, called LaboBrain, consists of a concave screen for the user to scrawl ideas on while moving around it. A football-like seat allows for rest between frenzied bouts of creative thinking, while plants under a grid in the floor refresh the air.


The LaboShop sells objects conceived in the Laboratoire, but retracts into the ceiling at night to accommodate other activities in the space.


Photos © Fabien Thouvenin


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LaboShop - Mathieu Lehanneur at the Laboratoire

Designing new layouts for the Laboratoire, Mathieu Lehanneur has created functional spaces on the borderline between art and science: LaboBrain is a private think-tank, LaboShop, a public sales outlet.



The LaboBrain is a tailor-made all-white studio for David Edwards, the founder of Laboratoire. It is a gym, a place for working out thought, with all the appropriate tools cerebral athletes need to hone their performances. Projected in brainstorming mode, the user does not have a sit-down work post. He works moving about in front of a concave Velleda screen, a secret alcove that is also a surface where this space age cave-man scrawls ideas and drawings, a sounding board for the creative intellectual.


Buckminster Fuller haunts this alternative space for thought-on-the-move. The cool old self-taught theorist-architect is present in every detail of a solution that puts together science, art and design. In homage to his geodesic dome, a half-deflated leather soccer ball offers laid-back rest between two work-outs, while under the floor-level grate, plant-life is busy eating CO2 and pumping up oxygen to bring organic relief to the interior


Almost classic, the table and chair in the office of David Edwards' assistant is the right-side lobe of this brain, the rational part for organization and storage. But there is one constraint: not a single stray artefact to catch the eye. A wall of immaculate white cardboard boxes salutes the Imac in manual mode, and will serve for several years of paper archives.


A wall of boxes also figures in the main space, but in sheet metal. Their sides embossed in a wafer pattern call to mind a New York hot dog stand revamped to Italian design codes: chic, stained, shiny, and with a leather hand hold. Pop-style luxury in a place that pulls together the USA and France.



Display/hide - Schizoid Jekyll & Hyde is on the job in this split personality space. By day the LaboShop is a bookshop-sales outlet for experimental pieces straight from the Laboratoire, like the 'Whif' aroma inhaler, or 'Andrea', a commercial version of the 'Bel Air' prototype.


Come night though the entire commercial fit-out retracts to ceiling level to become luminous caissons, freeing up the floor-space for people invited to the FoodLab piloted by Thierry Marx, a place for culinary and molecular experimentation, otherwise located at basement level.


However small it may be, this is a volume that has eyes bigger than its belly thanks to a remote-controlled pantograph system. Mobile architecture that reconfigures as if by magic, as fantasy-ridden as vintage cameras with their fold out/fold in (display/hide) mechanisms, in disappearing floor and ceiling.


Le Laboratoire
4 rue de Bouloi
75001 Paris
M° Palais Royal


Mathieu Lehanneur, designer. Graduated from ENSCI-Les Ateliers in 2001; is currently exploring possibilities in nature and technology for their break-thru potential in functions and their capacity to work magic. Made his international début with a series entitled 'Elements' (VIA Carte blanche 2006) and the 'Bel Air' filtering system for plants (2007), six objects that form a domestic 'Health Angels' kit for rebalancing everyday physiological needs (such as lack of sunlight in winter) and countering aggression factors in urban settings (noise & air pollution).

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