Du Besset - Lyon

Pavillon de la France, Exposition Universelle, Séville, 1990

To mark the celebration of the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus to the New World, the theme of the French Pavilion for Seville was “Discovery.” Rather than explore the idea of the Other, inherent in the concept of discovery, the architects preferred to create an ephemeral structure, based on the universal and on the expression of the human. They designed a pavilion around the theme of the living and the organic. The façades of the pavilion, in nylon, move in the wind, which causes folds and pockets by forming networks where air freely circulates. Flexible and translucent, these veils billow and move with the slightest breeze (foreshadowing the sun breakers of the Media Library of Orleans.) An image communicating availability, the permeability between the interior and the exterior and the materiality of this “visual rustling” – which here makes the architecture reminiscent of a poem by Francis Ponge – the veils dress the pavilion in a festive robe that would gradually be consumed by the sun of Seville, leaving just a “skeleton” in their place. Inside, the whirling blades of three upside down helicopters cause the air to move and a bed of high grasses planted on an immense sloping plane to wave. A mobile banquette, 400 meters in length, crosses this prairie before passing through the exhibition spaces on the upper floors. At the end of the tour, visitors walk through a cone onto which images of constructions are projected.

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