This area dedicated to adolescents and designed by Mathieu Lehanneur for the Centre Pompidou (Paris) opens on 11th September 2010. This initiative called “Studio 13/16”, inevitably risky for a museum when aimed at a volatile teenage population, finds a functional and formal solution based on the ergonomics of the desire “I dreamed about a place which was conceived and built like a television, cinema or music studio. I wanted this place to offer teenagers the same potential for action and creation as the professional equivalent. A far cry from an attempt to reconstruct a hypothetical ‘teen’ style, from adolescence I have only kept this desire – and at times this capacity – to contort things and places. I admire this unique way of making the world more flexible to better integrate into it. And what is true for a town or for clothing is even more so for institutions like museums…” sums up Mathieu Lehanneur.

Following David Edwards’s office for le Laboratoire (2009) designed like an intellectual weights room, Mathieu Lehanneur applies a method, to a scale increased tenfold to 210 m2, integrating the user’s functional and physical needs as much as their psychological ones. “Visually and practically, Studio 13/16 is a supple, almost elastic place. Everything here seems to be in movement or ready to be so. A huge, black technology grill (greater than 120 m) extends over the whole of the ceiling to house all the lighting and sound equipment.  It also allows works, screens and anything else you can imagine to be set up. A suspension of curves, ‘twists’ and ‘loops,’ it becomes, an impressive inverted roller-coaster.” Mobile pierced/perforated sheet metal furniture integrating technology (DVD, Hifi, etc…) completes this space central to a backstage atmosphere.

The magic of the adolescent state, this pledge in perpetual movement, finds a formal and functional place to suit it. On both sides of the entrance, two lounge areas in a relief design. Seemingly straight out of a tube of toothpaste, these surfaces allow and encourage any position possible. A far cry from an armchair or a sofa, what we have here is a landscape, a sea, an open space. Media units punctuate these areas with inverted video surveillance cameras (it is the teenagers who observe the Centre Pompidou) and video content, they also have use of iPod plugs to connect and broadcast music in a zenithal and extremely precise way with a laser sound system: two teenagers or groups can then listen to their own music side by side without overhearing each other.

Encountering this vocabulary on entering which makes a mockery of multi-media codes (customised night club type laser, video projection), the teenagers will literally be sucked up by an airlock in the shape of a camera obscura type of giant camera bellows. A true “adolescent vacuum cleaner” as Mathieu Lehanneur’s agency suggests with humour which is now awaiting these guinea pigs to test the ambition of the venue.” I do not want to overly predict the way in which these teenagers are going to ‘inhabit’ this place. I would just like them to sneak in naturally from the Piazza to the Forum Bas, like a pull. I would also like them to be able to find their way around, compose, chat, surprise themselves, or go to sleep there… Finally I would like Studio 13/16 to succeed, where secondary schools have failed in the domain of creation.

photos credit : Ribon

Studio 13/16 par Mathieu Lehanneur

Centre Pompidou

Metro Rambuteau, Hotel de Ville