Architects: Encore Heureux Architectes
Location: Paris, France
Despite being determined by the constraints of navigation, Petit Bain is not a boat, but a building floating on the Seine. Built in a shipyard near to Paris, its measures 40 meters in length and 10.5 meters wide in order to pass through locks and under bridges and draws 5 meters.
Permanently moored at le port de la Gare, the building is composed of three levels with the concert hall in the hull, creating a double height space in front of the stage that is unexpected from the dock. Suspended in the air, above the public, a large buoy coated with mirror facets inundates the room with thousands of light flashes.
To contrast with the whole hull and the structure made of steel, the superstructure is covered with wood: pine plywood in the restaurant on the inside and vertical slatted larch cladding outside.
On the terrace, an unusual garden to be enjoyed by the public allows views of the Seine. Recovered from the demolition of a social housing complex and given by the town of Romainville, 33 white tubs are filled with aquatic plants, as a counterpoint that illustrates the name of this new floating cultural equipment.
In shades that range from bright yellow to pale green, the hull, decks and access underline this island in the city and livens the greyness of the dock. In his photographic work on France, Raymond Depardon stated: “The cool colors are supposed to be modern, in contrast to yellow for example. It’s hard yellow. And it’s beautiful too.”