In 1997 the manufacturer Renault announced the end of its car production on the Seine island, Ile Seguin, in the western district of Paris called Boulogne Billancourt. Local city councils then decided to launch a town redevelopment plan of the old manufacturing site and were joined in this by Renault itself.
© Shigeru Ban Architects Europe – Jean de Gastines Architectes
20 years later, the Ile Seguin is entirely rededicated to culture. In the first place to music with the concerthall “La Seine musicale” created by the architects Shigeru Ban and Jean de Gastines (great website). It principally will host concerts and events and was launched on the 21th of April with a concert of Bob Dylan.
But this city of music is only one part of a project to turn the whole island into a centre for contemporary culture. It was imagined by the French star architect Jean Nouvel in collaboration with landscape gardener Michel Desvigne and lighting designer Yann Kersale.
Hopfully this cultural hub will become as popular a place to visit and wander in as is its eastern counterpart Parc de la Villette in the 20th arrondissement. With another impressive project of Jean Nouvel, the Philharmonie de Paris, Parc de la Villette is a successful mix of stunning architecture, green spaces to relax in, concert halls, museums, cafés and restaurants that has worked wonders for qualitatively reviving the north east of Paris. It is a place I regularly bring visitors to and it is always a success. It is off the beaten tourist track and a real visual breather.