Quality comes first in the office of the future


Market watch

Quality comes first in the office of the future

  • 01 July 2021

  • Real Assets

  • Real Estate

Reading time: 4 minutes

    Ardian and Sanofi closely collaborated to create a bespoke office environment fit for Sanofi’s needs as their future global headquarters, with the signing of leases for buildings in Paris and Berlin

    Jérôme Arnaud: The two buildings we leased were for our global headquarters in Paris, in the prestigious Avenue de la Grande Armée, and for our office in Berlin. These agreements were key parts of a global transformation project addressing every aspect of our organization. We want to create something new and unique with our buildings that reflects the promise of being part of Sanofi. With these deals, we tackled a significant part of our masterplan.

    • 9,200 sqm

      of office space

    • 580 sqm

      of outdoor space including terraces and a rooftop

    • 3

      Certifications targeted (BREEAM Excellent, HQE Excellent, Wired Certified Gold)

    Stéphanie Bensimon: Sanofi is a very innovative tenant that wants to realize its own vision for the space with a very high level of specification. When they came on board in Paris, we had already presold the Avenue de la Grande Armée building to an insurance company with an agreed delivery date and technical specifications. Adapting the designs very rapidly to achieve Sanofi’s goals was a challenge for the teams in Paris, and I know there was also a lot of discussion with our team in Germany about what Sanofi wanted to do with the Elisa building.


    JA: I must admit we are a very demanding tenant. We want to create bespoke office spaces that fit our vision for Sanofi and its people. We are trying to transform the buildings so that they become places of socialization, collaboration, and innovation. We are leveraging the 3 dimensions of the building to develop an impressive but also very cozy working environment, where people could re-energize and promote a sense of purpose.

    We don’t know exactly what the future will look like for offices, but the quality and efficiency of the space are much more important than quantity.

    JÉRÔME ARNAUD, Global Head of Real Estate, Sanofi

    JA: We are progressively reducing the amount of space we use, although we will certainly need a central meeting place in future, and it must be top quality. If people come to the office, it will be for good reasons, so we need to create environments they feel proud of and where comfort and digital tech are fully embedded in the user experience.

    Quality is a major strategic objective for many tenants and the pandemic is reinforcing that trend.

    STÉPHANIE BENSIMON, Head of Ardian Real Estate

    SB: For me, both these projects show that our strategy of repositioning obsolete buildings to the highest modern standards is the right one. They also show how important it is to be very agile and responsive to the tenant’s needs. We know we cannot approach projects as a pure developer – we must walk in the tenant’s shoes. Despite the challenges the pandemic created, I was surprised at how the construction companies adapted and how we were able to limit delays and manage the additional design work that needed to be done.


    JA: What we really appreciated is the professionalism of the teams we worked with. Very often around the world we deal with landlords who are totally inflexible. They are just selling square meters, while we are looking for people with the capacity to adapt. In Paris and Berlin, we worked with teams who were open for discussion and were prepared to listen.


    SB: We both set the bar very high on these projects. Sanofi invested a lot of time and effort with a strong technical team to make sure they achieved their goals. I think we all learned a lot from working together.


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