Manny by Tetrarc


Architectural photographer Stéphane Chalmeau has sent us his photos of a building covered in aluminium bars in Nantes, France, by French architects Tetrarc.

Called Manny, the building will house architecture studios and creative businesses, and includes a public showroom on the ground floor.

The aluminium strips form a mesh over the glazed exterior, hiding office clutter from passers-by and diffusing natural light passing into the workspaces.

Here's a short text from the architects, followed by a longer statement in French:


At the heart of the creative arts district, a unique setting for architecture and creative arts firms.

Ideally located behind the Courthouse, at the heart of the creative arts district, the Manny building, initiated by the Coupechoux Design Group in partnership with Nantes developer Axel Colin, will be a unique setting for architecture and creative arts businesses. It will also reach out to the city and the neighbourhood, with a large public showroom on the ground floor.

The Manny building is unquestionably a showcase for contemporary creative arts in Nantes.

Draped in protective metal netting, Manny is designed to be a unique setting for creative arts and a powerful symbol of the future creative arts district. According to the designers at Tetrarc, it illustrates two essential elements of today's society, namely creativity and environmental responsibility.

With Manny, the Coupechoux Group will inaugurate an exceptional showroom dedicated entirely to design.

As a showcase for contemporary furniture creation, the space will  feature expertise in design and creation.

Exhibits, conferences and other events will be scheduled regularly, and documentation will be available.

Le Groupe Coupechoux réunit ses activités dans l’île de Nantes où il projette de réaliser un immeuble dont l’architecture exprime avec force deux composantes essentielles pour nos sociétés contemporaines : la créativité et l’éco-responsabilité. Novateur dans sa forme architecturale, l’immeuble est également innovant dans son approche du développement durable via une synthèse performante des différentes cibles de la HQE. Il mobilise pour cela les compétences d’un tissu local et régional de jeunes sociétés d’ingénierie.

Un immeuble repère par sa prise en compte de l’environnement (Cible 1)

L’environnement est ici considéré dans sa dimension culturelle abordée selon trois focales:

le paradoxe de l’architecture classique nantaise

La résille englobant l’immeuble transcrit l’instabilité physique caractérisant les plus belles constructions classiques Nantaises. Ce vacillement emblématique inspira aux Barto les formes basculées de l’Hôtel La Pérouse et se glisse jusqu’au sein même du Palais de Justice où, par le jeu des reflets, Jean Nouvel défait l’ordre implacable de la structure et des colonnes. Manny capte à son tour cette référence pour installer un message de liberté créative au sein de l’ordre constructif des halles établies par les ingénieurs des ex-chantiers navals.

le futur « campus des arts »

Manny établit au seuil du futur « Campus des arts » une figure illustrant la réappropriation par les créateurs de chaque génération des bases classiques : sa résille est dessinée à partir d’un motif de fer forgé d’un balcon d’un hôtel du XVIIIe célèbre pour sa cour ovale.
Ce voile dansant, imprimant mouvement et déséquilibre, imprévu et déstabilisation dans un univers de halles géométriques est aussi une révérence faite aux surréalistes nantais.

l’histoire du site

En se drapant d’une résille d’aluminium, Manny se relie aux chantiers navals qui employaient ce métal pour réaliser des pièces essentiels à la structure, à l’aménagement intérieur et à la propulsion des navires.

NB Les critères d’intégration du projet dans le site et de prise en compte des caractéristiques physiques de l’environnement sont présentés au sein d’autres cibles développées ci-dessous.

Une machine à travailler en lumière homogène
pour un plus grand confort visuel (Cible 10)

À l’avant d’une façade largement vitrée, la résille filtre les vues, évitant notamment aux passants le spectacle de bureaux en désordre. Mais, sa fonction essentielle est double :

  • éviter que les espaces de travail soient exposés à un éclairement direct par un calcul minutieux de la disposition de chaque lame d’aluminium perforée composant la résille,
  • homogénéiser la lumière naturelle au sein de l’ensemble des espaces de travail et de façon permanente grâce au phénomène de diffraction de la lumière sur ces mêmes lames d’aluminium perforées.

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Posted on Friday November 27th 2009 at 2:14 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • love it !!

  • antepostnow

    the like of this kind of architects should now spend a good while following the path of their environmental footprint – gladly, from a bauxit mine in downunder to nantes, it should take them a while.

  • explosion at the Pasta Factory

  • anders

    a modern prison?

  • Lol, looks like the Peckham fire this week:

  • Who let these crazies loose ? If enmeshing the exterior of a building so that light and shadow are encouraged to do their crazy dance across the interior can be called ‘diffusing light’ my name is Rene Descartes -& all this destined to be “a showcase for contemporary furniture creation”. One can see why they dragged in reference to the surrealists from Nantes although ‘ The Theatre of the Absurd ‘ would be a more natural association.

  • facader

    first response : OMG!!!

  • Gareth

    I really think this is hideous, with no beauty, no function, no aesthetic. No “easy” unbroken views to the outside world, the light into the building is grossly fragmented. A very upsetting eyesore :( …

  • Such a waste of energy !!! Who allow this architects build their useless and unsustainable dreams?

  • what an awful thing. a glass box covered with toilette paper.

  • Every buildings can cover by that mash. You don’t need an architect for that. Only need an artist.

  • bibo architect

    why most of the text in French??

  • dee

    architecture reduced to a kind of skin treatment only.

  • Prof Z

    see it between hand sketching and photographies

  • Prof Z
  • this building need’s breath………..

  • ARS

    It is only a simple and not specially interesting skin.

  • hugo

    i pass by everyday (100m far from the architecture school) and the architects (one was a teacher of mine) don’t have invented anything new in here. a simple structure under a snazzy metal skin
    but you need to see it closer to appreciate it : the raw/polished concrete treatment inside is very smart, you should also see the stunning suspended metal staircase inside, no weld, only rivet

    @ bibo : most text is in french because the architects are… french ! there’s just no english version of their website.

  • Thom

    this is ugly

  • *matt

    “Such a waste of energy !!! Who allow this architects build their useless and unsustainable dreams?”

    It will be a sad day when sustainable doctrine stymies art.
    Im all for sustainability but I hope this mentality stays on the fringe!

  • subtle
    and natural view
    like bird nest or a shaggy that need barber :-)

  • The human vision is so limited . So i suggest to any student in architecture to become a mutant : make photo with thermography infrared camera and then send them to Dezeen. You will see who is architecte of the future?

  • *matt says:
    “It will be a sad day when sustainable doctrine stymies art.
    Im all for sustainability but I hope this mentality stays on the fringe!”

    Sustainable development is a fiction. Environment are neither sustainable or development.


    How do you clean this. Its virtually impossible.

    Thinking and/or building in this fashion leads to the production of literal garbage. This modern Rococo facade treatment will either become so filthy or cost so much to maintain that in a few years, it will be just about as good as a piece of garbage.

  • barca7

    it is a bit of a one liner, but, i find this simple and beautiful. reminds me of the work coming out of the vienna studios under Zaha and Wolf Prix et al.

    and it is a sad day when idiot ‘environmentalists’ with a bad sense of grammar and a worse sense of aesthetics are our priests. it is amazing to me that everyone can tell how ‘unsustainable’ something is from photos without doing the math. i used to work for a high-end firm that did mainly LEED platinum buildings, and most of the things they did to make the difference would not be evident from photos like these.
    i refuse to believe that paying obeisance to green design actually makes something ecologically valid. too often it is just charades without the science to back it up.

  • Josep

    Do you know something about KAWAMATA?

  • see this exhibition about green material innovation in Nantes France

  • “This must been a solist feeling for the creative mind who thought about it. to walk threw art work function in daily work life of anyone who share’s that feeling of being alone in a forest setting”.This is truly a solist experince for one to share!.What a great task for men of teams can gather plans with creative minds and contruction engineers who must of had a nightmare, I guess their must of been all sorts of stress and deadlines to finish this art work.I hope the world is ready for this kind of peace offering to humanity..

  • INawe

    Age old decorated shed. I am not so impressed.

  • Jay Philip

    Very Prison like.

  • Mag

    This just needs…a little getting use to.

  • oida


  • Utku

    How come they don’t mention about Kawamata? It doesn’t “look like” one of his works ; it’s just a bad copy of them.

  • ElP

    Paint it red and you’ve got a Quinze

  • Ginger

    building jewellery ?

    I like this, but surely this feature should have been the structure?

  • Looks like a giant instant Ramen. Just dont add boiling water to this unless you build a bowl to hold it.

  • pezsapo

    I do’nt understand all these negative opinions about the building,
    in my opinion the double skin (or “hair”) system is a funny way to interpretate the classical and boooring louver system that we see in every “sustainable” project,
    sometimes this kind of building as an exception in an urban tissue is a good thing to discover,
    let’s be less dogmatic and have a little bit more fun!

  • There is a lot to be said for confidence in design and I am afraid that this building’s external skin doesn’t fall into that camp and as for the “sustainability” arguement, if those bars are indeed made of aluminium then someone is really flying in the face of prudent design. I don’t see how this facade succeeds on any level:

    Interpretation of concept: It looks like an old basket with a hole in the corner. Not sure who would appreciate the “artistic” efforts here – AT BEST it would be someone thinking “Wow, I have never seen anything like that”. And that is only because it is unusual in the same way that someone wearing their pants on their head is. Other wise this skin’s aesthetic doesn’t achieve anything.

    Maintenance: Extremely difficult.

    Practicality: All that glazing and substantial reduction in natural light and views

    Value for money: None.

    There was a comment earlier about beautiful raw polished concrete and the suspended staircase, which if true makes the execution of this facade even more of a pity.

  • Ram Flores, Laredo

    Its an interesting facade, not really something i would go for, but its interesting.

    I like this for its noticeablity, but i think in the long run it will turn into Notoriety, right now its new and shiny, i just think that in the 10 years of rain and pigeons, this wont be as pleasant to look at from either the interior or outside of the building.

    Its gonna take a heck of a team to keep the “bird´s nest” clean.

  • theodore

    >>> inspiration!

  • jules

    it looks messy