Situated in southern France, Nîmes is well known for its exuberant character, and its fashionable artists. French firm Tetrarc has fed on Nîmes’ special identity in order to create a complex dedicated to contemporary music that has just been opened at the entrance to the town between a flying club and a district made up of a mix of low rise buildings, houses and small local businesses. With the name Paloma, the complex consists of two concert halls, twelve rehearsal and recording studios, six accommodation areas for the performers in residence, administration offices and the all-important technical facilities.
Tetrarc has devised a tonic form which springs out from the ground and flows out towards the sky and the town as if some powerful internal forces are pushing at its walls and are threatening to shatter them. This zinc shell actually stretches, frays, even tears apart in some parts in order to display– like a supernatural eye – the giant screen which announces performances and artists.
Viewing the concert as a confrontation between artists and public, Tetrarc uses the colours of the bullfight (yellow and purple) for the foyer, the stairs and the patio; red in the foyers at the entrance to the two halls; the geometry of the bullfighter’s movements are represented by the congealed textures on the walls of the hall; images of a crowd seated in an arena are projected onto the seats in the big hall. The walls of this hall display a giant sculpture whose material evokes the sleekness of the picadors’ hair, and whose form evokes a gigantic cog like the one grinding the men in Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times.
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images © Stéphane Chalmeau