jakob + macfarlane: orange cube
jakob + macfarlane: orange cube jakob + macfarlane: orange cube
feb 08, 2011

jakob + macfarlane: orange cube

‘orange cube’ by jakob + macfarlane architects in quai rambaud, lyon, france image © roland halbe / all images courtesy jakob + macfarlane




paris-based jakob + macfarlane architects (dominique jakob, brendan macfarlane) has sent us images of ‘orange cube’, their soon-to-be-complete commercial and cultural complex in lyon, france. designed as a part of an urban planning project to replenish the docks of lyon, the five-storey orthogonal cube plays off the fluid movement of the river saône, exploring the effects of subtraction and voids on the quality and generation of space.

elevation image courtesy RBC




built on a regular framework of 29 x 33 m, the structure stands autonomously on the site, a wharf with a predominantly industrial background. the most noticeable element of the design – its bright orange shade – is an abstraction of lead paint, an industrial color often used for harbor zones. the external skin is a light facade, punctured with a pixilated pattern that resembles trailing droplets, a reference to the adjacent river’s flow. this porous envelope allows sightlines and natural daylighting while establishing a distinct identity for the building.

in context of the river and surrounding structures image © roland halbe




the structural regularity of the cube is broken on the north-west corner which faces the river. conic in form, the large, diagonally-running void generates new space: a large atrium is created which is circumscribed by a series of outdoor corridors that connect the office platforms together.the facade is pulled into the depth of the volume, resulting in a shift in interior/exterior relations, as well as facilitating light and views. another volumetric subtraction on the entry and roof levelestablish direct relations between the building, its users, and the site.

view of the void from an outdoor terrace space image © roland halbe

roof top terrace image © roland halbe

interior view of the design showroom image © nicolas borel




featuring a double-height layout, the ground floor accommodates a design showroom. the display concept, which was also created by jacob + macfarlane architects, was developed as an extrapolation of the ‘orange cube’s architectural language. taking the treatment of the facade, a three-dimensional volume was generated for an L-shaped wall that wraps around the space. sixty ‘alvéoles’ are used to display furniture pieces, while the unit as a whole define the circulation of the floor.

display wall image © nicolas borel

image © nicolas borel

image courtesy RBC

office floor image © nicolas borel

staircase images © nicolas borel

detail of light facade image © nicolas borel

3D rendering of display wall units

floor plan / level 0

floor plan / level +4




project info:


client: rhône saône développement surface: 6,300 m2 commercial program: headquarters cardinal group cultural program: design showroom, RBC cost consultant: michel forgue electrical engineering: alto ingénierie acoustic: avel acoustique structure: RFR GO+ facade: T.E.S.S.

  • After reading this article I found myself craving a big block of cheese

    NLsL says:
  • Agreed, NLsL — maybe they could sell another to the city fathers of Madison, Wisconsin (Wisconsin is the dairy state).

    Tom P says:
  • I haven’t seen a bold project as this one in a long while. Well done.

    loren says:
  • they seem to have managed to have real fun at designing this project…. very cool and refreshing approach..!

    j lacape says:
  • is the skin metal???? What material is this “light facade”???

    So says:
  • Borg Ship + Death Star = Orange Cube

    pushstick says:
  • Very very nice

    rcvs1 says:
  • Go Green Bay!

    dbkii says:
  • works surprisingly well in its riverside context 😀

    archi-sam.com says:
  • super iconic

    lobsterocket says:
  • fck thats great

    caid says:

    MODERNDESIGN2120 says:

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