Clad in mirror polished stainless, the 200 seater auditorium suspended in the large volume of the hall comes to life in the changing reflections of a head turning silver sky.
Created in 1800 and erected in 1811 in the old Toulouse county hotel at the heart of Paris, the Bank of France has preserved its original foundations in the face of a number of significant refurbishments, most notably the transfer of the main entrance from La Vrillière street onto Croixdes Petits Champs street with a new frontal as its key point.
Cultivating both discretion and splendour to which the gilted Gallery still pays homage to this day, this strategic establishment wanted to offer both its workers and the entire world darkening the doors of this historical centre a contemporary entrance hall, worthy of its notoriety without reference to the previous old entrance, unanimously considered to have been ordinary.
Beneath the existing marble slabs lies the vault, hidden and guarded treasure with no access not even a peek. Faced with this confined space, restricted on all fronts, the architects retained following a selection process imagined a subtle, brilliant inverted project in order to meet the cleint’s brief. A client concerned about how to integrate a 200 seater auditorium, meeting rooms, food areas and the associated logistics.
A suspended structure for a furtive shape
The ancient hall area is totally uncluttered and expands into the entire depth of the building, from the street through to the end of the plot. Offices and other required facilities are housed along each side including a patio area. A majestic area opens out to the visitor, barely furnished with a bench and a sofa area with a huge 250m² rug onto which the refurbishment plan is laid out. The strength of this work is as much functional and structural as visual, with the suspended auditorium whose architects have created a moving ceiling entirely clad in stainless giving an extraordinary dimension to the hall area by altering its interpretation and toning down its perception without compromising its functionality.This furtive volume is held by metallic profiles and existing concrete beams beside the triangular steel structure, supporting all of the facilities. This metal cage is clad in a shell of plaster board which redefine its contours. The actual covering is made up of flat plates, shaped into either a single or double curve all crafted in the same way with a 2mm thick stainless steel sheet counter embossed onto an aluminium honeycomb structure.
Most of these plates are 1.40m wide and 4m long in addition the shaped parts adapt to fit the angles and cornices of the geometry to give an workable area of around 900m² in all. Constructive prowess with the double railed staircase, delicate handrails made of barely visible spun stainless. The magic works at all points of the mirror.
A flawless non directional miror polished stainless
Unrecognisable, unreachable and impossible to photograph which rare banknotes adorn the ceiling of the Bank of France hall? In this overprotected area, stainless steel reveals itself as the most appropriate and astonishing of materials to achieve the desired effects, its polished finish to perfection offers the maximum reflectivity on a silver background. This non directional mirror finish, with its commercial brand name
Uginox Meca 8ND is generally used in modest quantities and surface areas for luxury bathrooms or decorative elements.Such precision in the concept would be unthinkable in a more conventional configuration. It exploits the inverted architectural function by acting as a xxx light source, a fascinating optical game, even a hidden camera in the ceiling. Its delicate execution led architects to call upon specialist contractors in the luxury yacht field, familiar with exacting fixing techniques for this top of the range material. Material which demands to be handled with care, taking all precautions when being worked in order to guarantee the flatness of the plates, the hidden joints and in this particular case the bold bevelled returns and angles, all in a flawless surface finish.
Texte : François Lamarre / Constructalia