Elia: A successful option

Full conversion of the Boulevard de l’Empereur office in Brussels. Redevelopment of 6 floors, each with 1000 m², and setting up new working dynamics for the 360 staff working there. GLOBAL’s task was to give options for the SWOW (Smart Ways of Working) concept created by Elia in its Rue Monnoye building.  The result ensued from a creative collaboration between GLOBAL and Elia.

The project was very well prepared and ran all on its own! The result is so beautiful: light, colourful and cheerful. It's a great success!

Jan Windels, Critical Installations, Admin Support & Fleet at Elia.

Challenges encountered

Allow exchange between departments

The old layouts were gloomy and partitioned. The challenge was to maximise open space without sacrificing working comfort. Bringing variety to the different floors while not breaking up consistency.

Convince the staff

Elia’s staff were showing particular concern with regard to SWOW, associating the concept with visual discomfort, noise and monotony. Work to support the staff was needed.

Carrying out works in an occupied building

The constraint consisted of keeping the operation to one year at most; cascading the developments and avoid inconvenience connected to noise and dust. This required significant organisation and scheduling.

Next stages

Redesign spaces

GLOBAL separated noisy areas from quiet areas, while keeping the maximum light possible from one façade to another.  Specific meeting areas were thought out: coffee corners, library, gaming room

gloabl etape 1 elia alcove work 1 seul

Proposing choices

Team leaders were able to make a selection from a list of various spaces: cocoons, bubbles, cockpits, lounge, silent rooms… A set of strong colours and signage give the necessary reference points.

global elia etape 3 fritz hansen eeg rouge jaune

Sequencing the move

Several moving sequence scenarios were put together with a view to minimising the number of duplicate moves.


The results obtained

Each floor has its own colour

At Elia, each floor is dedicated to a function. In order to enable users to find their way around, GLOBAL allocated each level with a specific strong shade of colour, repeated on the walls and the carpets.

Invested areas

Staff are taking over all the areas and it’s working! Even if, at the start, this was not part of the corporate culture. On the ground floor, a hub has been installed for external companies, the press, partners etc.

An extra-mural success

The choices proposed have become THE benchmark for all of Elia’s offices. More and more external staff are asking if they can work at the Empereur office.