Louis Mounis and Deniz Basman
Based on the structure of the Monorail in Orléans, the project is part of the study of form and figure in a contemporary landscape. The project takes place at the end of the 18km monorail, forming a perpendicular line of 1,5km. The structure which comes to measure and to define the space, forms an island composed of singular spaces. The result is a non-systematic suite of spaces which convenes by moment architectural models such as the Hadrien pool of water, auditorium and sometimes more singular pavillons. We sleep there, we stay for a moment, we eat there simply.
The users activate each space.
Throughout the project, Deniz and Louis worked with numerous references as that of the Atlas allowing them to introduce the notion of strangeness associated to memory.
Who influences you graphically?
So many people influence us graphically that it is impossible to list them all. It is mostly painters, photographers, artists, designers. It is very varied, really: it can be Nicholas Alan Cope’s photographs of L.A., Gerhard Richter or Michaël Borremans’ striking paintings, Raf Simons’ images from the 90s. We also look at a lot of romantic or baroque paintings.
Architecturally speaking, we usually look back at images that were made a few decades (or centuries) ago, those of Aldo Rossi, Etienne Boullée or Claude Nicolas Ledoux for instance. We can also mention Valter Scelsi as a more contemporary reference.
What importance does colour hold?
Colour is vital. Integrating it was a long and meticulous process, because of one of us’ natural tendency towards black and white. But we both became aware of how important it is to add just the right amount of colour into our images – and to choose the colours very well. It adds depth and life to the image.
How does the use of black and white help in defining your proposal in juxtaposition to the surroundings?
Black and white allows us to play with many shades of grey and therefore with shadows and depth. Moreover, it makes the reading of the images much more immediate: it clearly sets apart the project – as in, the structure, the built mass – from its context and its use.
You use perspective views as the major means of representation, why?
Well, we basically chose the means we felt comfortable with. None of us is particularly good in architectural hand drawings, and we really didn’t want to do 3D renderings. We both are very involved in our projects and want to do everything together as much as possible. These perspective views were a good way to do the images collaboratively, as one of us did the 3D views in order to get the perspectives right and the other one took care of the Photoshop part. But we also do a lot of axonometric views, which can be more or less complex and are also essential for us. They explain the specificities and mechanics of our projects, where as the views’ raison d’être is to introduce a sensation, a rather strange moment in space which refers to the use of personal and collective memory.
How does the staging of your views help to define each of the singular spaces?
This project consisted in a very basic structure that repeated itself 60 times, throughout 1.5 kilometers. We used this structure as a frame, in which we placed archetypes. This repetitive system dictated the views. We were interested in thinking the project in three different scales: we wanted to look at what happened in one of those 60 frames – as a singular and autonomous architecture -, but also at how we played with the intersections of those frames – and therefore with the notion of limit -, and finally in how the project worked in its totality.
Deniz Basman and Louis Mounis work as a team and are currently enrolled in their fourth year at the Ecole Spéciale d’Architecture in Paris. The project above was however undertaken in the spring of 2014 under the guidance of professor Cedric Libert. In architecture, they ‘aim to have an ambiguous approach and to create a rather strange but also common memorable space.’