An anthem to light: La Marseillaise by Ateliers Jean Nouvel

The new La Marseillaise office tower is the second act in the urban renovation project promoted by Constructa at Les Quais d’Arenc, as part of the French city’s Euroméditerranée redevelopment plan.

A building’s facade is a skin that not only shades it and protects it from the wind and rain, but also gives it character and enables it to communicate with its setting.

In Marseille, Jean Nouvel has created a dramatic, ironic and sarcastic flame, an explosion of light, sun and warmth on the seafront.

The building’s skin is made up of the balcony railings and vertical struts superimposed on the plane of the balustrades, enhancing the three-dimensionality and depth of the facade system.

The finest aspect is that this shading and characterising skin does not penalise the interior’s view of the outside. Instead, it forms a delicate and sensitive filigree.

Jean Nouvel invariably succeeds in being rebellious, provocative and different, despite the building’s extremely stringent and conventional design. 

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