- Les Docks, Marseilles by 5+1AA
A place where territory and city, past and future, residents and visitors all converge: this was the idea of the architects from 5+1AA, established by Alfonso Femia and Gianluca Peluffo who describe their repurposing project for the historic building in the old port of Marseilles.
Les Docks occupies a strategic position in the urban backdrop and the architecture itself epitomises all that is special about Marseilles - a real melting pot of cultures with a uniquely Mediterranean flair. To this end, this retail centre has been created, and not surprisingly won the 2016 MIPIM Award as the best shopping centre in the world, precisely because it has been designed for people and not for the architects.
5+1AA has adopted a design approach that turns the old building into a real public place - accessible, festive, fun to visit and a place designed for multipurpose use, and not just retail therapy. The visual connections between the building, the city and the sea plays a key role in this, through openings, flowing courtyards and dynamic pathways.
In Les Docks a warm, joyful atmosphere reigns supreme, enegendered by Alfonso Femia's attention to the choice of materials such as stone, ceramics, plants, transparencies and light, where he worked with Italian and French artists and artisans to create the architectural detailing. The northern facade is a content-filled spectacle in itself, clad in a monumental, metal fresco formed of 30709 letters: 30 excerpts from texts selected by the architect Alfonso Fernia and the Italian agency Tapiro Design. These were written by authors who visited Marseilles or that are evocative of the city, and were written by authors such as Cicerone, Montesquieu, Balzac, Hemingway and Ben Jelloun.
Les Docks by 5+1AA is a unique blend of architecture and content (even the mall stores are required to respect certain stylistic traits) to offer a really enjoyable retail experience that goes far beyond the classic shopping blueprints. If we want to spend our free time having fun, instead of hanging out in old plazas and bars of the townships, then it's worth doing so in an inviting, attractive place, with the added enjoyment of respecting history and the territory.
Location: Marseilles, France
Photography: Luc Boegly - http://opictures.fr/