Foster + Partners complete flexible urban workspace ICÔNE for a post-covid world
Nigel Young / Foster + Partners

Foster + Partners complete flexible urban workspace ICÔNE for a post-covid world

29 Jan 2023  •  News  •  By Allie Shiell

In Belval, Luxembourg, Foster + Partners has completed the new office complex ICÔNE. The project's design process began in 2016, well before the pandemic. However, during the building's evolution, the pandemic highlighted the need for a more flexible urban workspace, which the ultimate design strives explicitly to provide. Additionally, the project is part of a significant revitalization of the site and surroundings, which form part of Belval's rich industrial heritage. 

photo_credit Nigel Young / Foster + Partners
Nigel Young / Foster + Partners

Designed in collaboration with local practice BFF architectes, the 18,000 square meter office complex comprises two wings surrounding a central atrium. The atrium is the heart of the project, open and bright with plentiful amounts of natural light, fostering collaboration and employee wellbeing. A Belval blast furnace forms a central focus of the dramatic atrium space while referencing Belval's industrial history. 

photo_credit Nigel Young / Foster + Partners
Nigel Young / Foster + Partners

Functionally, the atrium resolves the level changes between the street and the plaza with a series of stepped terraces that offer a rich arrival sequence. In addition, the open circulation concept adds a sense of vibrancy to internal spaces, with communal green landscaped terraces providing meeting and break-out spaces integrated as part of a rich and varied whole. 

photo_credit Nigel Young / Foster + Partners
Nigel Young / Foster + Partners

The fluidity of the internal space contrasts with the building's formal exterior, which presents a distinctive orthogonal façade that emphasizes the structural grid. The overall massing and architectural language strive to respond to the scale of the neighboring buildings and the industrial characteristics of the surrounding streets. Entrances to the complex are articulated in response to Porte de France, a main urban road to the west, and the Place de l'Académie to the East. New shops, cafés, and restaurants will bring life to these entrance elevations at pedestrian level.

photo_credit Nigel Young / Foster + Partners
Nigel Young / Foster + Partners

Though formal in appearance, the façade is both structurally and environmentally dynamic, providing an integrated solution that allows for internal column-free office spaces, solar shading, and maximized interior daylight. The external concept further accommodates a series of exterior green loggias visible inside and outside the building. The project ultimately achieved a BREEAM Excellent rating.

photo_credit Nigel Young / Foster + Partners
Nigel Young / Foster + Partners

Geoffroy Bertrand, Country Director, BESIX RED Luxembourg, says: "As a forerunner in this field, ICÔNE is a 'smart building' dedicated to the wellbeing of its occupants. We have designed office space that encourages interactivity, creativity and performance, while adapting to the environmental requirements of tomorrow."

photo_credit Nigel Young / Foster + Partners
Nigel Young / Foster + Partners