Galeries Lafayette

Germany Go Full Screen

Depth and clarity

The presence of a department-store on a major throughway should be an event and be attractive. The passer-by should feel called out-to on the pavement. The shop, itself a public interior space, should extend the public exterior space of Friedrichstrasse.
The reading is through depth and layering. From the street, the space at ground level is free, devoid of any wall. The dematerialisation of the corner allows motorists or pedestrians to see cones of light, of which the larger one quivers, vibrates, flashing rays of colors. The reading of the structure of the spaces on different levels is simple. It allows each person to know at any given moment where they are and where they are going. The two big mirrored cones in the central space are objects of fascination, where according to different themes, massages and images race across surfaces, and using an inverted process of anamorphosis, a precise image deforms and invades the ensemble of mirrored surfaces.
These moving, deformed image-massages are completed by other perfectly controlled and precise images on two big screens, on Friedrichstrasse and Franzosischestrasse.
The screen-printed façade in progressive mirrored grids allows signs to appear through triangular halos (resonating with the cones) or rectangular halos (formatted to the screen).
The offices are perforated by cones of white light, actually interior lighting. The floors are sprinkled with transparent glass blocks around the cones, becoming progressively more opaque.
Geometry and light create this architecture with infinite variations, linked to time, the hour of day, and to the nature of programmed images. It is halfway between abstraction and figurative, artificial and natural light. We wanted to create a game, a subtle, scenographical tool as a motor for seduction, questioning the shown and hidden, the dark and light, the intelligible and sensitive.
It alights one of the first lamps of Friedrichstrasse's renaissance.

Jean Nouvel

STATUS Inaugurated 1996
LOCATION Berlin, Germany
DATES 1991-1996
GROSS FLOOR AREA 40 000m2, 400 000sq.ft
PROGRAM Department store integrated in a building with a cabaret, offices, housing, car park
CONSTRUCTION COST 76 700 000 €, 70 000 000 $
CLIENT Euro Projekt Entwicklungs GMBH
PROJECT MANAGERS Barbara Salin, Laurence Daude, Construction phase : Judith Simon, Viviane Morteau
ARCHITECTS Stacy Eisenberg, Said Fahrat, Nathalie Miegeville, Christina Sewerin, Alexandre Vaucher, Niki Van Osten, Beth Weinstein, Wolfgang Kruse, Wolfgang Keuthage, Mathias Raasch, Judith Simon, Nicole Weber, Xavier Lagurgue, Walter Kruse, Olga Bauer Franca Comalini, Hiram Duyvestijn, Vincent Hubert, Jean-Louis Maniaque, F. Marzelle, Frédéric Neubauer
STRUCTURE Ove Arup & Partners, Polonyi & Fink GMBH
FLUIDS Hl Technick Ag
SECURITY Institut Lehmann
MODELS Etienne Follenfant
PICTURES Gaston Bergeret, Nicolas Borel