Raise a glass on the banks of the Seine

Wednesday 06 Aug 2014

Three very different concepts for a Parisian Champagne Bar take 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in competition organised by [AC-CA]

The results of a competition to design a Champagne Bar on the banks of the River Seine have been announced by competition organisers [AC-CA]. Paris is often referred to as the City of Love and couples flock to the French capital in their millions for romantic city breaks, many visiting the Pont des Arts Bridge to attach a padlock signifying their everlasting love before casting their keys into the Seine.

[AC-CA] challenged competition entrants to design a Champagne Bar in the 1st arrondissement of Paris, close to the Pont des Arts Bridge. The stipulations of the brief requested that the proposals reference the relationship between architecture and water, incorporate sustainable design methods throughout, investigate the possibilities of creating social spaces within the city, and integrate function, structure and detailing.

First place: Pedro Manuel Araújo and Michaël Oliveira

The winning entry by Pedro Manuel Araújo and Michaël Oliveria comprises a translucent glass form resting on an arched brass base, connecting with the River Seine via a series of steps which run off the existing walkway. The team looked to reference the classical Beaux-Arts architecture of Paris in the formal aspects of their design, contrasting these with an informality sourced from the neighbouring river.

Visitors to the Champagne Bar are able to sip their drinks from a generous terrace that wraps around the entire building, open to the elements at the top of the brass base. They may also wish to retire inside to the misted glass volume to dance, socialise or relax in the sheltered interior space. In their design statement, Pedro Manuel Araújo and Michaël Oliveria reference the nearby Pont des Arts and its regular arches; a silhouette clearly witnessed in the winning concept design.

Second place: Tomas Ghisellini Architects, Andrea Andreotti (collaborator), Nicola Cataldo (collaborator)

In direct contrast, the scheme awarded second place - designed by Tomas Ghisellini Architects, Andrea Andreotti and Nicola Cataldo - draws inspiration from the existing landscape and makes this the focus of the building design. Entitled ‘Flamingo’ due to its slender columns and ability to withstand swirling waters, the concept focuses on a linear prism with ‘gilded walls and shiny mirrors’.

Three glass lifts ‘as tiny champagne bubbles’ provide access between the entrance, kitchen, tasting area and support facilities on the top floor and the open-air loggia at water level. This protected river terrace looks out over the waters of the River Seine and the nearby Pont des Arts, with a mirrored ceiling reflecting natural light to illuminate the venue. 

Third place: Joon Bom Shim

The third place entry by Joon Bom Shim is a cylindrical element with a smooth ramp that provides access for all down to the edge of the river. Focusing on a central gathering space, the Champagne Bar features a stage at its core for live musical events and performances which can be viewed from all levels.

A bar and restaurant are located on the first floor enjoying views across the Seine, with arches in the walls echoing the bridges that sweep across the river. A VIP bar is located beneath the stage, enabling ‘a unique engagement with the river’. 

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