A tireless controversialist, Frenchman Rudy Ricciotti is the pioneer and ambassador of concrete with many achievements such as the MuCEM in Marseille, the Bordeaux Métropole Arena, the Footbridge of Peace in Seoul or the Musée de La Boverie in Liège. He will give a lecture at Flagey at the end of this year.
Poles in the form of white trees, a footbridge crossing the tracks, covered with a concrete mesh… This summer, the City of Nantes will inaugurate its new renovated station. And they make a real stance. Designed by Rudy Ricciotti, the architect behind the MuCEM Museum in Marseille, it will take the form of an atypical mezzanine serving as an aerial street, supported by 18 large tree pillars and a lively enclosure of 17 new shops. From the beginning of the project, the architect had imagined a glazed mezzanine which was to be 160m long and 25m wide. All in transparency and lightness, culminating at 18m above the tracks. The objective: to offer the Nantes residents a brand new panoramic view of the Castle of the Dukes, the docks, the canal Saint-Félix, the Bretagne Tower. After three years of work, the station of Nantes will be prepared to welcome, in 2030, 25 million passengers.
Famous for his concrete mesh at the MuCEM in Marseille, the architect combines projects and books. He published L’Exil de la beauté (Ed. Textual), an essay denouncing the official culture of beauty, and Première ligne (Ed. Cassis Belli), written as an introspection on culture and creation. Rudy Ricciotti likes controversy and refuses to abjure. For in a world where the language of architecture is impoverishing, he persists in saying that architecture is above all a line of writing.
Between black and white
As far as projects are concerned, Rudy Ricciotti sublimates innovative concretes in outstanding achievements such as the Centre chorégraphique national of Aix, the Department of Islamic Arts at the Louvre Museum, the Pont de la République in Montpellier and, more recently, the Cidade Matarazzo in Sao Paulo or the Conservatoire de Sète… In Paris, the architect completes the Centre des métiers d’art for Chanel. A building of 25,500 m2 that will welcome 600 craftsmen of very high level in the fall of 2020. For these craftsmen, Ricciotti has imagined an immaculate building, exceeding in delicacy, which evokes “femininity, fragility, the magic of weaving“, translated by columns of braided concrete.
“Whether black or white, the through-body stained concrete brings a complementary truth, summarizes the architect. Black is much more graphic.” The dark concrete mesh that envelops the MuCEM – probably one of his most striking works – has been designed to establish “a link with a distant Orientalism, echoing the Mediterranean“, says Rudy Ricciotti who continues: “Black is a colour that is very reactive to natural light, very changeable. We see it on the walkway of the museum.” Architecture is also capable of poetry.