Paris’s New Arts Haven

Anchored by an egg-shaped auditorium that rises above the middle of the Seine, Paris’s bold new music venue is as much about design drama as it is about showcasing an eclectic roster of events. La Seine Musicale is the first of a number of cultural institutions planned for Île Seguin, a slim, kilometer-long island in the city’s western suburbs that was once home to automaker Renault’s flagship factory. Architects Shigeru Ban and Jean de Gastines are behind the futuristic look of the complex, wrapping its auditorium dome (now home to the Insula Orchestra) in a glass-and timber lattice that is shaded from the sun by a rotating solar sail of photovoltaic cells. Other facilities include a 6,000-seat concert hall showcasing everything from classical and contemporary music to ballet and theater; an internal “street” of recording studios, boutiques, and a jazz club; rooftop gardens; and a big screen at the entrance to allow non-ticket holders to enjoy shows. Upcoming events include performances by American dance troupe Alvin Ailey (July 4–22). 

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The La Seine Musicale’s lattice-work auditorium. Photo courtesy of the venue.

This article originally appeared in the June/July 2017 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Isle Space”).

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