Shigeru Ban's La Seine Musicale opens in Paris

Inside we have adopted a more angular geometry than the egg-shaped exterior in order to answer the acoustic questions we faced
– Shigeru Ban

Shigeru Ban’s €170m (US$189.4m, £145.2m) concert venue for Paris has opened on an island in the Seine.

Designed with French architect Jean de Gastines on the site that once belonged to France’s biggest factory, La Seine Musicale has been conceived as a both new cultural symbol for the French capital and a music venue that will host all types of performance, from classical to contemporary.

The island of L'île Seguin was once an industrial heartland; home to a Renault car manufacturing plant that employed 30,000 workers before closing in the 1990s. French architect Jean Nouvel has been tasked with reimagining the island as a cultural destination, complete with promenades and gardens, and Ban and de Gastines won the commission to design the La Seine Musicale concert hall – which takes up a third of the island.

The completed 36,500sq m (393,000sq ft) building features a large egg-shaped glass volume sat atop a concrete ship-like structure, seemingly anchored in the river.

The dome is distinguished by a 45m (147.6ft) high solar sail, covered in 470 photovoltaic panels, which is mounted on rails that follow the course of the sun, from east to west, throughout the day – shading the building and creating a changing display of shadows.

La Seine Musicale is home to both a 6,000-capacity great hall for rock and pop concerts and a 1,150-seat classical music auditorium, formed of light oak, birch and cedar.

Speaking about the latter, Ban said: “Inside we have adopted a more angular geometry than the egg-shaped exterior in order to answer the acoustic questions we faced.

“We’ve developed a ceiling made of an assembly of tubes of small sections of wood, cardboard and paper, and weaved wooden slats cover the walls. These materials were used because we were looking for a warm atmosphere.

“The suspended ceiling will generate a set of shadows in the room in response to the lighting – so before each concert spectators can appreciate the room during the moments of waiting for the music to begin.”

The public can access the building through a monumental 10.5m (34.4ft) high hydraulic glass door weighing 5 tons. This leads to an interior boulevard lined with shops and lesiure amenities such as a jazz club. Visitors can also catch a glimpse into the venue’s five recording studios and practice rooms.

Outside there is a 1,800sq m (19,300sq ft) LED screen showing events for people without tickets. There is also a 7,410sq m (80,000sq ft) garden, extending across the roof, that has pedestrian paths through the flora and fauna – including 13 different species of tree.

La Seine Musicale, which was funded by the local government and private donors, is scheduled to host 300 events per year.

Shigeru Ba  La Seine Musicale  Paris  France  architecture  design  Jean de Gastines  Jean Nouvel 
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Shigeru Ban’s €170m (US$189.4m, £145.2m) concert venue for Paris has opened on an island in the Seine. Designed with French architect Jean de Gastines on the site that once belonged to France’s biggest factory, La Seine Musicale has been conceived as a both new cultural symbol for the French capital and a music venue that will host all types of performance, from classical to contemporary. The island of L'île Seguin
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The dome is distinguished by a 45m (147.6ft) high solar sail, covered in 470 photovoltaic panels / Shutterstock
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