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Base Geneva: New Office, Renewed Optimism

The Base Geneva team is settling into a bigger, brighter, bolder office space in the heart of the city. This move signals an important step forward for the studio, and shows that even during a global pandemic, we must be doing something right.

It’s amazing how a change of scenery can cause a shift in focus and bring revived energy. And after the past year, that’s exactly what the Base Geneva team needed. Having spent months working remotely, we realized how much we can gain from designing and communicating with each other face-to-face. So a fresh start in a new studio space has allowed us to regroup, reset our ambitions, and continue to expand as the world reopens.

We’ve come a long way since setting up BaseGVA in 2004, when Hervé Rigal, Gérald Moulière and Anthony Franklin added another branch to the Base Group tree. Clients have ranged from the Swiss Arts Council and the City of Lausanne, to The Olympic Museum, Caran d'Ache, Berney Associés, and many others.

Now numbering 16 and growing, we’re a small but important studio in Geneva – well-respected across Switzerland and beyond. Our current size allows us to maintain a “boutique spirit” for all clients, and retain the “Swissness” of our approach and attitude that we bring to each project.

When it came to finding a new office space, we wanted an environment that we could slowly and organically grow into. It was also important to provide comfort and flexibility for our staff, so they feel productive and able to achieve their best work. The ability to collaborate in small groups on specific projects, then come together for full-team meetings and social events was also a big factor in selecting the perfect office.

We struck gold with a centrally located, former car garage, which has 3,600 square feet (335 square meters) of space for us to spread out, hold meetings, host clients and throw parties once we’re allowed.

“The new studio is an extension of our ‘Base vision’,” said Gérald. “We were looking for something edgy and comfortable at the same time. A space that truly represents us, our personality.”

“I believe we found the rare pearl,” Anthony continued. “That was certainly the most important thing for us: to live and work in a place that fit us first.”

Our move here takes precedent from the larger Base studios, which have found spaces reflective of their personalities. Brussels has its edgy, industrial loft in residential Saint-Gilles. New York occupies a historic, characterful house in the Financial District. And now Geneva is nesting in its quirky garage atelier in Les Pâquis, between the city’s Red Light district and the luxury hotels of the Geneva Riviera.

Steps from Lac Léman and the iconic Jet d’Eau, the location is a popular spot for families and tourists, as well as artists and people arriving from around the world. The duality and diversity of this trendy yet gritty neighborhood reflects the high/low-brow approach of our studio – creating refined and sophisticated work for important clients, while never taking ourselves too seriously. The area is full of life and energy, just like our team.

The building itself has plenty of peculiarities and charm. Two huge skylights allow natural light to pour in from above, rough concrete stretches across the floors, and a beautiful concertinaed metal door that previously concealed the car body-paint workshop creates an imposing presence.

Since the space is so unique, we tried to preserve its workshop spirit by intervening as little as possible in terms of decorating. A few contemporary artworks from our collection and some of the posters we’ve created over the years are hung-up here and there, while furniture is kept functional and white to keep the workspace as light and bright as possible.

“One of my favorite parts of the building is the fully glazed street facade, which was designed to fully open to allow vehicles to drive through,” said Hervé. “Now it functions as a gallery, The Base Window as we call it, which will host a roster of displays by emerging and well-established designers and firms, including our friends, clients and wider creative network. The first is a collection of videos by Régis Golay called Figure, Forms, Contraptions, with more to be announced soon.”

“The gallery allows us to create moments of culture not just for ourselves, but for members of the public passing by – extending our reach and impact into the city we call home,” he added.

Our hope is that the move to this new space will allow us to continue to foster our existing client relationships, as well as attract new businesses and brands that share our ambitions, seek authenticity in their positioning, and want to have cultural impact. We’re at a pivotal moment in our studio’s story, and ready to write the next chapters.