A SHOWCASE MADE OF LIGHT, SPACE AND COLOR
The Forum des images owes its strong identity to its innovative activities in programming and preservation. But the impact it has made on the world of cinematic and audiovisual arts and culture is also embodied by a strong physical and architectural identity designed by architect Anouk Legendre from the firm X-TU and lighting designer Georges Berne. A long-standing part of community life at the Forum des Halles, the Forum des images' renovated spaces assert the institution's elegance and modernity.
In the heart of Les Halles, a street dedicated to cinema
In the heart of Paris, the Forum des images stretches along Rue du Cinéma, an underground street linking Porte du Jour to the Porte Saint-Eustache and which features––for the enjoyment of the general public––a succession of facilities dedicated to the silver screen: the Forum des images, the François Truffaut City Library of Cinema and the movie theater complex UGC Ciné Cité Les Halles. Offering activities that range from premieres of recent films to viewing rarities from our cultural heritage to finding books on cinema, here the City of Paris has created a one-of-a-kind movie hub. As a part of the global restructuring project of Les Halles, an array of other complementary services is also available in this innovative crossroads in the center of the capital.
A symbol of this complementarity is the 230-foot-long (70 m) facade which links the Forum des images to the François Truffaut Library. The 4,000 ft² (1,200 m2) library was designed by the architecture firm X-TU to fit in perfectly with the Forum des images. 19,000 books, 6,200 magazines, 2,000 CDs and 10,000 DVDs are on loan or can be consulted on site.
Clean lines and light
Created by architect Paul Chemetov and inaugurated in 1988, the Forum des images underwent substantial renovation between 2005 and 2008. Under the supervision of Anouk Legendre from the firm X-TU––which restores many public and institutional buildings in France and abroad––two goals guided the renovation: asserting the architectural identity of the cinematic institution and restoring the building's spatial unity, which covers 19,685 ft² (6,000 m2) on several levels.
Aiming for clean lines and open spaces, the firm X-TU worked in particular around the idea of creating "clear masses." The transparent facade immediately reveals the Forum as home to film. Through its tall bay windows passersby immediately perceive the diverse activities taking place inside. X-TU emphasized the building's surfaces and volume through a "double skin" effect created by the continuity between the floors, walls and ceilings, and by playing with alternately smooth, opaque or transparent materials. The choice of a pure color like "hollyhock" pink, combined with light gray and black, creates a dynamic unity throughout the various spaces and the chromatic combinations underline the elegance and warmth of the Forum des images.
Lighting is a crucial part of the site's architectural identity, and the firm X-TU chose to work with world-renowned specialist Georges Berne. After collaborating with the Guimet Museum and the Picasso Museum, Georges Berne staged the lighting of the Forum using neon ribbons with changing rhythms, nuances, intensities and colors. Visitors stroll through the Forum des images moving from one lighting atmosphere to another. And because the lighting connects the different surfaces and helps shape the different volumes, it actually improves the fluidity of foot traffic between spaces, creating a warm and friendly atmosphere. Visitors move progressively and smoothly from broad daylight to the darkness of the theater, and back again.
The art of signage
Very modern signage was created specifically for the Forum des images. The graphic and typographic research was entrusted to artist Pierre di Sciullo. Known for the quality of his work, in particular at the Centre National de la Danse in Pantin, Pierre di Sciullo imagined for the Forum a system of signs and directions with a compelling identity which reconciles practicality and elegant shapes. In keeping with the aesthetic choices made by X-TU, the original typography specially made for the Forum––the Kuije––guides visitors inside and outside the building.
Five perfectly equipped movie theaters
The Forum des images hosts screenings, events and cultural events welcoming thousands of visitors year-round. All theaters are wheelchair accessible, with state-of-the-art equipment and a seating capacity adapted to each event.
The theaters Salle 500 (444 seats), Salle 300 (276 seats), Salle 100 (100 seats) and Salle 30 (30 seats) were from the outset intended to present works from a large variety of media. The projection rooms are equipped for practically every possible film or video format, from the rarest to the most common: an early print screened in 18-frames-per-second can be followed by a 2K digital screening. Lastly, Salle 50 (50 seats) is specifically designed for video screenings and welcoming school groups. Its removable chairs make it possible to adjust seating as required, even clearing the floor entirely for specific activities, such as hands-on workshops.
A collection room adapted to all
Dedicated to the consultation of 9 000 digital documents from the Forum's collection, the Salle des Collections can welcome up to 86 visitors and offers optimal comfort with state-of-the-art ergonomics, soundproofing and architecture. In its 1,312 ft² (400 m²) space four types of viewing possibilities coexist, each destined for a specific usage.
Dedicated to leisure consultations, the Grand Salon––the main space covering 656 ft² (200 m²)––holds 16 individual screens to be used one or two persons. Eight alcoves offer individual consultation screens with more privacy. Two adjoining Petits Salons are reserved to groups of seven people maximum who wish to share a film with family or friends. Adapted to collective use, the Petit Amphithéâtre can welcome up to 32 visitors for group consultations and research. This space, adapted to group tutorials and workshops, puts a variety of tools at the instructor's disposal, including a big-screen video projector and access to a corpus of digital media. Whether they come alone, in work groups, with family or friends, visitors can also obtain advice and guidance concerning the full-range of available services and the prolific collection.
An open meeting place for work and play
Spacious, the public entrance covers 1,089 ft² (332 m²) to welcome visitors in optimal conditions. Because of the great number of visitors, a long reception desk centralizes ticket sales and information about programs, collections and available equipment. Visitors with tickets are then free to go to the Grand Foyer to wait for their screenings, sit in the Salon de Lecture (reading area) or have a drink at the 7 th Bar, situated on the mezzanine. Open during the day and evenings, the café offers a pleasant setting to meet before a screening or carry on a discussion after a film. With a seating capacity of up to 36 patrons, the 7th Bar serves market fresh Mediterranean dishes––natural, balanced and specially created by Café Lemoni. The perfect place for a light meal in a friendly atmosphere.
Last but not least, the Rotonde (rotunda) is a unique meeting room reserved for professional use and remarkable for its rounded walls, imposing skylight and impressively large table designed by architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte.