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Saint Étienne, France

Urban Lounge

AWP Office for territorial reconfiguration — Urban Lounge

The value of this public space depends primarily on its location: a tree-lined path housing a marketplace, from which user-friendly quiet spaces can be accessed. Before a succession of formal interventions was envisioned, the principal consideration was to ensure the fluidity of circulation around the marketplace. Above all, it was important to create the potential for a variety of activities in the public space. The public space is neither a series of closed squares, nor a mere passageway, but a succession of urban environments where a person can choose to stop once, or every day, during a stroll.

AWP Office for territorial reconfiguration — Urban Lounge

The aim was to establish a sequence of welcoming, playful areas open to all that would animate the space day and night, in all seasons. The space is framed by the naturally sloping ground and the planted valley. The square has to become a landmark for the surrounding area, a symbol of civic regeneration and needs strong, visual landmarks to put it on the map – both at its two entrances and in the square itself. The overall visibility of the square reinforces its iconic potential.

AWP Office for territorial reconfiguration — Urban Lounge

DESIGN CONCEPT Our thinking about the design was based on the idea of the «urban lounge». Having looked at a variety of living rooms, we have chosen to simplify the urban lounge to four basic elements. Order: perspective, emphasized by the pattern and repetition of elements (furniture, curtains …) Textiles: carpets and curtains Lighting: lamps, sconces and mirrors: a luminous atmosphere that unfolds the space Furniture: a range of furniture styles that serve one purpose, to allow people to gather: loveseats, chairs, chairs …

AWP Office for territorial reconfiguration — Urban Lounge

Thus, we created a sequence of four thematic areas with different qualities of soil (for example, a ceremonial carpet), but located in an open space without obstructing the view. The identities of this sequence are strongly characterized by the unity of the furniture, or more precisely, the tubular structures that define the space, without being overly imposing. These structures take the form of chairs, benches, and equipment for children’s games, but also act as lighting masts and a lantern.

AWP Office for territorial reconfiguration — Urban Lounge

DETAILED SEQUENCE An “urban living room”> a room for dancing> a room for playing> a room for resting. From the beginning of this sequence, the first room is represented by the double presence of an iconic lantern (=gloss) and a water wall fountain (= mirror) that provide a reception area (without overhanging trees): a threshold space for cultural activities, meetings, speeches … Next, we arrive at the ‘ballroom’, or where different patterns of circulation intersect the path. This is the place where people meet when arriving at the marketplace. The third room is a space reserved for games, created for children, offering variations on the theme of tubular furniture previously revealed as benches and lampposts. In this room, they are transformed slightly to support playful activities (gymnastics, climbing, and swinging). The last room is for those who want a rest from the “urban flow” – to sit, talk, eat and read – or for those supervising their children playing nearby. Further along from this room is a partition that becomes a screen for projections during the night: this «lounge space» is geared towards performance (DJ + VJ), with «chandeliers / lanterns» at either end, The main lantern is designed to create visual appeal from the road, as it is not obstructed by trees. It is a tubular structure with a backlit reflective textile that makes it a metropolitan landmark by day or night. Below, a lantern-screen creates a visual echo to the main lantern and serves as a projection screen for films or as artistic lighting.

AWP Office for territorial reconfiguration — Urban Lounge

AWP Office for territorial reconfiguration — Urban Lounge

AWP Office for territorial reconfiguration — Urban Lounge

AWP Office for territorial reconfiguration — Urban Lounge

Architecture-and-historical-context