Ar­chi­tects’ Di­rec­tory 2018

Our se­lec­tion of next-level ar­chi­tects take cen­tre stage at the oma-de­signed lafayette an­tic­i­pa­tions in paris

Wallpaper - - July - por­trait: vin­cent Fournier

Young vi­sion­ar­ies and hot­shot prac­tices from around the world

Ar­chi­tects of­ten talk about flex­i­ble build­ings, in­te­ri­ors that can eas­ily adapt to dif­fer­ent needs, ready to ac­com­mo­date sev­eral func­tions. But you’d be hard pressed to find one that took the mean­ing of this as lit­er­ally as Rem Kool­haas’ practice OMA did in its most re­cent project in Paris, its first fin­ished build­ing in the French cap­i­tal.

Faced with a 19th-cen­tury in­dus­trial struc­ture on a rel­a­tively mod­est site in the Marais, and a brief from Fon­da­tion d’en­treprise Ga­leries Lafayette to cre­ate an art cen­tre fit to host three to four an­nual shows, plus per­for­mances and work­shops, the ar­chi­tects ap­proached the de­sign with a truly open mind. The re­sult, Lafayette An­tic­i­pa­tions, is a ‘cu­ra­to­rial ma­chine’ of a build­ing, with an adapt­able in­te­rior that gives spa­tial flex­i­bil­ity a new mean­ing.

‘Paris is re­plete with pres­ti­gious col­lec­tions, yet no place is ab­so­lutely ded­i­cated to the work of artists or to the pro­duc­tion of their pieces,’ says Guil­laume Houzé, pres­i­dent of Fon­da­tion Ga­leries Lafayette. ‘There was thus an op­por­tu­nity to es­tab­lish, in the heart of the city, a tool­box giving creators the chance to mul­ti­ply their ca­pac­i­ties and ac­tions, prompt­ing the emer­gence of new forms and ideas, then sharing them with the great­est num­ber. Within the 9 rue du Plâtre build­ing, OMA made these as­pi­ra­tions a real­ity.’

In or­der to achieve this, OMA com­pletely gut­ted the ex­ist­ing struc­ture (built in 1891 by French ar­chi­tect Sa­muel Men­jot de Dam­martin for Xavier Ruel’s Bazar de l’hô­tel de Ville), keep­ing the in­te­rior sim­ple and un­clut­tered, while trans­form­ing the court­yard at its heart into a glass ‘ex­hi­bi­tion tower’ com­posed of four mo­bile plat­forms. ‘We were asked to ac­com­mo­date an in­sti­tu­tion that of­fers carte blanche to artists in a build­ing en­tirely pro­tected by her­itage reg­u­la­tions,’ says OMA project ar­chi­tect Clé­ment Périssé. ‘Only a ma­chine could solve this. By in­sert­ing a move­able mech­a­nism into its court­yard, the only space open to in­ter­ven­tion, we ac­ti­vated the en­tire ex­ist­ing build­ing and gave it the po­ten­tial to serve this am­bi­tious project.’

The gallery now spans 2,200 sq m and in­cludes 875 sq m of ex­hi­bi­tion space, as well as pro­duc­tion work­shops, vis­i­tor en­gage­ment ar­eas, an or­ganic, ve­gan, gluten-free caférestau­rant, and a store, within one beau­ti­fully com­posed, well-oiled ecosys­tem clad in tim­ber, con­crete, an­odised alu­minium, gal­vanised steel grat­ing and lime­stone.

The gallery’s holis­tic vi­sion also al­lows for art­work to be made on site, with its fa­cil­i­ties open to pro­fes­sion­als from a wide va­ri­ety of dis­ci­plines, in­clud­ing fash­ion, de­sign, vis­ual arts and per­for­mance.

Ref­er­enc­ing the open­ing show by Amer­i­can artist Lutz Bacher, Houzé says, ‘Nu­mer­ous pieces pre­sented in the show will have been pro­duced in the Lafayette An­tic­i­pa­tions work­shop. Here, the di­ver­sity of the artists and their work will en­cour­age new op­por­tu­ni­ties for spa­tial co­hab­i­ta­tion within our mod­u­lar environment.’; lafayet­tean­tic­i­pa­ Turn the page for pro­files of 15 of our next-level ar­chi­tec­ture prac­tices. See Wall­pa­ for the full Ar­chi­tects’ Di­rec­tory

writer: el­lie stathaki above and be­low, at the heart of the art cen­tre’s ex­ist­ing struc­ture is a glass and steel ex­hi­bi­tion tower

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