Philharmonie de Paris
© William Beaucardet

In the word Philharmonic, one easily imagines a love of harmony

Ateliers Jean Nouvel as Architects

We play in successive harmonies, in urban harmonies. The Paris Philharmonic exists like a prestigious event which maintains the harmonious relationship with the Parc de la Villette, La Cité de la Musique and the Paris ring road.

Primo: Harmony with the light of Paris, the ray of sun in the grey clouds, the rain… An architecture of measured and composed reflections created by a subtle relief of cast aluminium paving that draws Escheresque patterns on the ground.

Secundo: Harmony with the Parc de la Villette, a continuation of Tschumian themes, a horizontal sheltered garden beneath the building, punctuated follies, reflections of shade in the shiny architectural surfaces, the creation of a “la Villette hill”, a walkable mineral relief which, following the example of the Buttes-Chaumont, forms an observatory over the urban landscape.

Tertio: Harmony with the Cité de la Musique through the drawing of oblique plans following paved lines of force that have already been traced. Quatro: Harmony with the ring road and the suburbs by the creation of a sign on a dynamic, distant scale, an illuminated apparition that punctures through the relief, displaying the concert programme…

Another chord needs to be struck with contemporary music and contemporary listeners who have become comfortable and lazy in front of their HiFi systems and CD collections. The Paris Philharmonic is a truly open space. Primo: The hall and the foyers offer earthly pleasures. One can meet friends here, pass the time wandering around the boutiques, eat and drink in bistros with a view of the garden, read in the lounges…

Secundo: The hall, evoking immaterial sheets of music and light, suspends the listeners in a space on long balconies featuring wide, deep seats for exceptional comfort. Thanks to the suspended design, one has the impression of being surrounded, immersed in music and light. The hall’s shell, a “volumetric cyclorama ", is washed with theatrical lighting according to the repertoire being performed. In fine weather, the windows facing the park and the suburbs can be opened.

Tertio: It is about restoring the lustre to the unique experience that each concert represents, an experience not just about the rapture of music, but about visual and sensory pleasure, about sharing that feeling of desire that inhabits the most prestigious Philharmonic halls. The Paris Philharmonic will belong of this group, helped by its calm yet powerful ‘monomaterial’ aesthetic of cast aluminium with delicate, pearly nuances, and with the mysterious presence of its hall, softly glowing within the grey and silver folds of the edifice.

Facade cladding

Axalta Powder Coatings EMEA as Manufacturers

Glowing softly within the grey and silver folds of its edifice, Jean Nouvel’s Philharmonie concert hall features a powerful monomaterial aesthetic of cast aluminium with silvery highlight against deep black accents.

The dark accents are created with a powder coating solution from Axalta. Powder coating is a type of coating that applied as a dry powder. It is normally applied electrostatically and then cured under to heat to form a durable ‘skin’ on the surface of materials, in particular metals and composite materials.

In this instance, the black parts were powder coated with .Alesta® Speed Jet Black SF30004056521.

More from the Manufacturer:

Some have compared it to a pile of broken paving stones. Others, to a rusty spaceship crash-landed on the edge of the city. The architect of Paris’s new Philharmonie concert hall, Jean Nouvel, promised that it would be “one of the most remarkable symphonic buildings existing. (Source:

For the black parts in the cladding Alesta® Speed Jet Black SF30004056521 was applied.

Specifiers and fabricators are looking for a complete cost effective powder coating solution to ensure appearance consistency on building between extrusions and panels. Axalta Powder coatings have evolved to meet the high flexibility requirements of the coil coating industry in pre-coating and post-forming. Coil coated products are used for composite panels and other external building materials. Alesta® Speed powder coatings are available in gloss and matt smooth finish, solid colours and metallic effects.


Uginox as manufacturer facades

Mirror of movement

The Philharmonie de Paris, designed by Ateliers Jean Nouvel, is a glittering hill culminating at 52 meters with a giant screen displaying its programme, an eye-catching feature visible from the Périphérique and surrounding suburbs. Its location to the north-east of the capital , in the heart of the metropolis,made it a landmark of Greater Paris from the outset and affirmed a desire to popularize the music it represents. It marks the culmination of the cultural metamorphosis of this sector in the 19th arrondissement that was formerly dedicated to slaughterhouses - the transformed Grande Halle bears witness to this - that started over 30 years ago. With its national and international dimension, the Philharmonie crowns all the facilities that dot Parc de La Villette, and in particular its opposite number Cité de la Musique, completed in 1995 by the architect Christian de Portzamparc. These two buildings now form a pair known as Philharmonie 1 and 2.

In addition to the large philharmonic hall named after Pierre Boulez with 2400 seats (3600 standing) set out over five levels, the Philharmonie comprises two large orchestra rehearsal rooms, six rehearsal rooms, work studios, an administrative centre, an educational centre, exhibition spaces, catering areas and shops. Concerts as well as exhibitions, educational activities and residences bring life to the building. There are several different ways of entering the building. Firstly, you can go 'under' the building from Parc de La Villette on the ground floor level.

Alternatively, you can climb a very wide staircase that brings you into the foyer of the great hall. A gentle ramp from Porte de Pantin also leads to this foyer. You can zigzag up the northern slope of the building, like a hillside, to reach the belvedere, 37 meters above the ground, that offers a panoramic viewpoint of the city, The various paths offer freedom to users, inviting them to appropriate the site without preconceptions. A "living space for music", its singular plasticity reflects the fluidity sought between spaces and people be they artists, technicians, the public, or merely shoppers.

Mirror of movement

Outside, the metallic cladding of its angular shapes and, conversely, curves provides a distorted reflection of the landscape and the movements around it, confusing distance and scale. Elements collide. The main design of the façades, in a nod to M.C. Escher, assembles seven different models of a stylised bird to form the aluminium coating in four shades of matt grey: flocks of birds form as the light changes.


Overflowing from these flat, sharpedged façades, the heart of the building is covered with bright stainless steel plate (Uginox Bright). Called the Tourbillon (whirlpool) and developed by Bureau HDA, this volume, highlighted in this manner, seems to escape from inside. It corresponds to the spaces of the foyer of the great hall. This curved wall is built in such a way as to form two distinct skins - the outer cladding and a watertight inner wall - each defined according to distinct geometric principles. The space between the two allows access for maintenance.

With a surface area of nearly 7000m², the cladding is a collection of stainless steel scales laid out in a freeform manner determined by the architects. The geometry follows a NURBS (Non- uniform rational B-spline) model. It is characterized by a mixture of zones of double convex, concave and, in some places, almost flat curves. With a thickness of 1.5 mm, the stainless steel sheets are fixed on a three-dimensional structural system combining flat sheets for the frames and curved tubes. These are connected to the edges of the floor with rods.

In contrast to the matt outer layer, the shiny appearance of the stainless steel exaggerates the surrounding landscape. Besides its aesthetic appearance, the smoothness of its surface helps to limit the deposition of dust and pollution residues. The particularly aggressive atmosphere near the Périphérique justified the choice of grade of austenitic stainless steel (Aperam 316L).

Philharmonie de Paris

Alumet as Metal cladding

Following a competition, Jean Nouvel’s project for this new building was chosen. A rock-like building with the air of a hill rising from the Parc de la Villette, the Philharmonie offers innovative forms. Its’ brilliant spiralling aluminium forms surrounding the central concert hall contrast with it elegantly- angled matt envelope, coated in a bird mosaic in varying shades of grey. The public can stroll across its’ 37-metre high roof, which offers a panoramic view, merging the city and its’ suburbs.

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Project Credits
manufacturer facades
Metal cladding
Product Spec Sheet

ElementBrandProduct link
SanitarywareDuravitStarck 1, Vero, Starck 3
manufacturer facadesUginox
ManufacturersAxalta Powder Coatings EMEA
Metal claddingAlumet
Product Spec Sheet
manufacturer facades
by Uginox
Metal cladding
by Alumet
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