The Paris Grands Moulins – old industrial flourmills created in Paris during the First World War – are today reconverted into student housing. They are located quay Panhard-et-Levassor, within the ‘Paris Rive Gauche’ development project area, in the ‘Quartier de la Gare’, 13th district of Paris.
During the rehabilitation of the Grands Moulins, Rudy Ricciotti has deliberately left a vacant space to pay tribute to the site’s industrial past.
FAA’s project differed from the other competition entries by taking a minimalist approach: without any formal gesture the design simply shows how the flourmills operated, by using the whole height of the building through superimposed floor openings. The machinery is suspended from cables and stages the different steps of the mill’s descending fabrication process – from receipt of the raw materials on the highest floor to the finished product on the lower floor and every steps of grains treatment in between. Franklin Azzi managed to theatricalize the history of the old industrial flourmills with a surprising economy of means, by creating a dialogue between the verticality of the suspended masses in the vacuity of the fault and the horizontality of the great nave. Given its strategic setting – situated between the staircase and the lift – and despite its utter simplicity, this scenographic installation is noticeable from inside and outside and highlights the machinery.