Business Playground meeting room
by Mathieu Lehanneur


French designer Mathieu Lehanneur has created a meeting room in a London hotel where guests can relax beneath a canopy with an image of trees projected onto its surface (+ slideshow).

Business playground Mathieu Lehanneur for Pullman

Mathieu Lehanneur designed the space for the Pullman London St Pancras hotel, where it provides a meeting room for business clients who want a creative environment suitable for work and relaxation.

Business playground Mathieu Lehanneur for Pullman

Poker tables inspired the leather edge surrounding the large meeting table, which encourages people to lean forward as they would when playing cards.

Business playground Mathieu Lehanneur for Pullman

"By bringing comfort and a certain suppleness to the table itself, I wanted to instil in each person the desire to participate and be at the heart of the debate, to go from passive to active, from spectator to participant," Lehanneur explained.

Business playground Mathieu Lehanneur for Pullman

A breakout space features comfortable armchairs and tables arranged underneath the faceted canopy, which is illuminated by a digital projection to create the impression of being "somewhere else, outside, under the trees."

Business playground Mathieu Lehanneur for Pullman

A series of illuminated boxes with reflective interiors contain unusual books and objects "inspired by the living spaces of scientists, aesthetes or collectors," and were added to offer guests a source of inspiration.

Business playground Mathieu Lehanneur for Pullman

Lehanneur also designed faceted pebble-shaped containers for storing meeting supplies such as notepads and pens.

Business playground Mathieu Lehanneur for Pullman

The unique furniture designs and interventions will be applied throughout Pullman's hotels in the future.

Here are some more details about the meeting room:

Pullman and Mathieu Lehanneur invent "Business Playground": a place to work and a playing field for ideas

Pullman reinvents meetings with the "Business Playground" room created by designer Mathieu Lehanneur. This room reflects the brand's "Work hard, Play hard" motto as well as its guests' lifestyle. It combines performance and pleasure with a fresh take on the traditional aspects of a meeting: a meeting table designed like a poker table, a private area for informal conversations or breaks, and a cabinet of curiosities. All these features are designed to stimulate creativity and reinvent international hospitality codes. The Pullman London St Pancras will premier the "Business Playground" room from November 2013, before it is gradually rolled out across the network starting in 2014.

Business playground Mathieu Lehanneur for Pullman

"Blurring" as a source of inspiration for meetings

The Pullman Hotels & Resorts cater for the new lifestyles and expectations of the brand's clientele of cosmopolitan, mobile, hyper-connected travelers. These accomplished professionals, who travel for business or with their clans on holiday, are curious about the world around them. The "blurring" of private and professional life is part and parcel of their daily routine. As a result, whether they are travelling for business or for pleasure, they want to be able to work and live intensely during their stays.

Pullman is an event organization expert, with over 30,000 events organized in its hotels. It aims to offer a unique meeting experience and remove the increasingly artificial barrier between work and relaxation. To do so, it invited designer Mathieu Lehanneur to create a new approach to workspaces and design a boardroom that reflects its "Work hard, play hard" motto.

Business playground Mathieu Lehanneur for Pullman

Xavier Louyot, SVP Pullman Global Marketing explains, "Our business guests travel a lot. Hotel guestrooms and meeting rooms are part of their daily routine. Quality of service and efficient facilities are intrinsic to all upscale international hotels. So, it's the experience that makes the difference. It takes inspiration for big ideas to make the leap forward. With "Business Playground" we aim to create unforgettable meetings for our guests, so that their gatherings in our establishments in London, Paris, or elsewhere are unlike any others."

The "Business Playground" room is a far cry from very formal conventional meeting rooms and disrupts the codes of business with style by focusing on defining elements and unique furniture create specially for Pullman.

  • Sifi

    The projection of trees feels like a cheap and easy way to get around the problem of using genuine foliage to inspire. Seems like an ordinary space alluding to be something greater.

    • Ak

      Real foliage doesn’t provide the feel of a “window” into a natural sunny canopy.

      • pozz

        Nor does this distorted projection.

  • Sarah Jacobs

    An elegant conference room with nature environment. It feels relaxing and could lessen stress. Really cool invention.

    • unimpressed by design

      Sorry, not in the habit of trolling, but really cool invention? Naoto Fukasawa did it over 10 years ago with “personal skies”, and even if he didn’t, this is the quintessential student project. Seen it so many times, it just keeps popping back.

  • Mathieu Lehanneur’s ‘tree canopy’ is not about novelty, but it hints at a very interesting concept: the Biophilia Hypothesis. Thirty years of evidence-based design research has shown that realistic simulations of nature can elicit an automatic ‘relaxation response’ in our physiology. This is the result of biophilic engagement.

    When our perception engages views of nature, real or simulated, tapping our deeply embedded genetic bond to nature, the result yields statistically significant benefits for mind and body including increased productivity, mitigation of stress and fatigue, as well as enhanced cognitive function.

    It is difficult from these photos to ascertain whether the designer succeeds in creating a remarkable illusion or merely a positive distraction. Biophilic illusions of nature are used extensively in healthcare and corporate environments to mitigate the draining effects of deep plan buildings on our physiology.

    And that would fit in very well with the notion of stimulating creativity in enclosed artificial interiors.