Manuelle Gautrand Thursday 23 Jun 2011

Eclaireuse: little mobile furniture unit

The 'eclaireuses' designed for an Interactive center for 21st century music and digital cultures.

Re-structuring an old theatre in the heart of Paris to turn it into an interactive platform for 21st century music and arts poses a number of difficult problems. To sum them up: the Manuelle Gautrand office had to conceive of a place that could cater to all the artistic activities of today, a place open to public visits but that was also a working studio where artists could actually create, produce and present.

The design priorities are clear: create three main production facilities, three spaces for live shows. Around these three anchor points unfold a continuum of fluid and mobile ‘breathing' spaces to serve alternately as work studios and presentation spaces: sets for the digital arts and modern music, for performers and for the public.

They include a library, exhibition areas, foyers, cafés, bookshop, rehearsal studios, etc. To animate these fluctuations of programs and accompany the many changes in spatial layout, we imagine little mobile furniture units, which we called "éclaireuses", with the idea that they brought life to each level and completed the tasks at hand.

Mounted on rollers, these container-size units move from place to place, creating a changing scenography. The furniture is devoted to the artists or to the public, to invention, to presentation: they make it possible to build then "un-build" a large number of sets to the beat of life in the venue.

Thus, at times dressing rooms, at times offices, at times technical annexes, artist residences, spaces devoted to installations, devoted to researchers in the resource center, they make it possible for the breathing spaces to be reversible and continually updated.

70 ‘éclaireuses' were dispersed throughout the building, designed for these different uses. 8 of them enable the audience to become completely immersed in a universe of sounds and images.

designer biog

Manuelle Gautrand

Born in 1961, Manuelle Gautrand was qualified as an architect in 1985. After working on several joint projects, she set up her own practice in 1991.