‘orange cube’ by jakob + macfarlane architects in quai rambaud, lyon, france
all images courtesy jakob + macfarlane
image © roland halbe

paris-based jakob + macfarlane architects (dominique jakob, brendan macfarlane) has sent us
images of ‘orange cube’, their soon-to-be-complete commercial and cultural complex in lyon, france.
designed as a part of an urban planning project to replenish the docks of lyon, the five-storey
orthogonal cube plays off the fluid movement of the river saône, exploring the effects of subtraction
and voids on the quality and generation of space.

image courtesy RBC

built on a regular framework of 29 x 33 m, the structure stands autonomously on the site,
a wharf with a predominantly industrial background. the most noticeable element of the design –
its bright orange shade – is an abstraction of lead paint, an industrial color often used for harbor zones.
the external skin is a light facade, punctured with a pixilated pattern that resembles trailing droplets,
a reference to the adjacent river’s flow. this porous envelope allows sightlines and natural daylighting
while establishing a distinct identity for the building.

in context of the river and surrounding structures
image © roland halbe

the structural regularity of the cube is broken on the north-west corner which faces the river.
conic in form, the large, diagonally-running void generates new space: a large atrium is created
which is circumscribed by a series of outdoor corridors that connect the office platforms together.
the facade is pulled into the depth of the volume, resulting in a shift in interior/exterior relations,
as well as facilitating light and views. another volumetric subtraction on the entry and roof level
establish direct relations between the building, its users, and the site.

view of the void from an outdoor terrace space
image © roland halbe

roof top terrace
image © roland halbe

interior view of the design showroom
image © nicolas borel

featuring a double-height layout, the ground floor accommodates a design showroom. the display concept,
which was also created by jacob + macfarlane architects, was developed as an extrapolation of the ‘orange cube’s
architectural language. taking the treatment of the facade, a three-dimensional volume was generated for an
L-shaped wall that wraps around the space. sixty ‘alvéoles’ are used to display furniture pieces,
while the unit as a whole define the circulation of the floor.

display wall
image © nicolas borel

image © nicolas borel

image courtesy RBC

office floor
image © nicolas borel

images © nicolas borel

detail of light facade
image © nicolas borel

3D rendering of display wall units

floor plan / level 0

floor plan / level +4


project info:

client: rhône saône développement
surface: 6,300 m2
commercial program: headquarters cardinal group
cultural program:
design showroom, RBC
cost consultant: michel forgue
electrical engineering: alto ingénierie
acoustic: avel acoustique
structure: RFR GO+
facade: T.E.S.S.


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