MBA first year classes visit Darwin
As part of their MBA International Hotel Management course, Vatel’s two first year classes each spent an afternoon visiting Darwin Eco-System, an innovative and environmentally-committed centre in Bordeaux.
Our students were accompanied by their teacher Michel Londeix who, being a tenant on the premises, was able to underline the management issues involved in the running of this innovative complex.
But what about the concept that lies behind this name, which is emblematic of a particular school of thought ?
This resolutely eco-friendly project is in fact a 20,000 square metre complex comprised of open plan offices, a skatepark, a reception area, a cantine and a grocery store, all located within the premises of the former NIEL military barracks. The objective is to create a sort of microcosm which is capable of producing its own energy and the least possible waste.
During the visit, the students were given the opportunity to interview Frédéric Ballion, who runs the « Magasin Général » restaurant, which is open 7 days a week. He also manages the organic grocery store.
Mr.Ballion explained how he manages the restaurant with the aim of obtaining a « bio » (organic) certification. He told the students how he produces « homemade » dishes at affordable prices, and described the main advantages of this friendly, relaxed venue, whose pleasant atmosphere attracts a varied clientele.
However, the Darwin eco-system doesn’t stop there : a lot of thought goes into how to reduce waste (a compost bin is on site to collect a part of the food waste) and to recycle as much as possible. For example, potato peelings are sometimes used in the cooking.
After exploring the outside of this urban farm and its strange ‘bubbles’ covered with graffiti, which are an integral part of the Darwin concept (by occupying abandoned premises and urban areas), the students ended their visit in the space given over to « co-working » and the business incubator.
The business incubator, which is also called the « Campement » (encampment), is venue for young enterprising businesses. This area is based on the open plan organisation which appeared in France about 5 years ago. These offices, like the rest of the building, are entirely furnished with recycled furniture. The calm atmosphere that prevails inspires respect, especially given the number of business teams working there at the same time and the great diversity of business activities.
This visit, and the added opportunity of interviewing Frédéric Ballion, proved to be a valuable real-life example of management within the framework of Michel Londeix’s study course. Our students will undoubtedly remember this surprising business model and its somewhat paternalistic approach, but all in all, a dynamic and refreshing addition to Bordeaux’s urban landscape.
More info here : http://www.darwin-ecosysteme.fr/