Cannes: a blend between the breeze, the sun, the sand, the beach, the palmes, the history of the city – the sensation of a slow time. Every year, this relative calmness is suspended by the frenziness of world cinema. Sitting between these two dynamics, the temporary cinema is the manifestation of a spontaneous interaction between cinematic narratives, the flow of the natural elements and the beach life. As such, Palmes Beach is a living/breathing canvas that people can experience in multiple ways to gather, relax, watch the sea, and enjoy the ‘theatre’ both of shades and moving images.
With the overlap of these various realities – real time and cinematic time – an element of surreal emerges. This collage-like experience that we are proposing through our architecture, is not only a design, but it’s also the representation of the state of our mind, the creative process that we had followed through, and inevitably, it’s also our reflection on collective space in the context of the current times.
Miranda lives in Zagreb (Croatia), I live in New York City, and seeing our cities change under the pandemic in such a dramatic way, raises numerous questions about the future of public spaces and the nature of collective form at many scales. Distancing and confinement has been and it will be altering our social behaviour, but even though we are all physically apart, we have been ever more connected through the virtual and through an instinctive collective empathy.
The city has slowed down. The emptiness of the streets, the void within the stores, restaurants, offices, theatres, museums lends a nostalgic feel to the city. Services have become all digital. Concomitantly however, the quiet and the relative absence of human movement through the city, enables natural processes to become more visible, and as such, for us to feel more connected to the environment. The enhanced ambiguity between these two extremes – the natural and the virtual – is an opportunity to rethink the character of public spaces in their role to connect people.
For the Temporary Cinema in Cannes, we are proposing an almost invisible ‘armature’ that becomes present through its interplay with the breeze, the sun, the cinematic projections – and ultimately – through its interaction with people.
The multi-purpose pavilion is meant to be a mini convention center during the Film Festival, complimentary to the Palais des Festival. Its purpose is to recreate a virtual experience and aura of being in a film festival for all the spectators and crowds who miss out on the events at the Palais.
As such, ‘Palmes Beach’ is a merge between the theater experience and the beach, setting the stage for immersive 24×7 cinematic experiences and various other film-related talks and activities. The large canvas stretching across an infrastructural framework allows people to inhabit it in a spontaneous way, depending on the time of the day and the specific film they want to watch.
The simple diagonal gesture divides the frame into two halves:
– The lower part incorporates a welcoming space and other complementary functions. With the movable hanging furniture, there is a flexibility to configure the space in multiple ways. Depending on the activities: it can serve as a bar, a library where beach goers can pass by, or a place for panel discussions and other gatherings.
– The upper part is a big open platform facing the sea, where people can feel almost like floating on a boat, surrounded by the sea and film. The movable screens allow for multiple subdivisions, so that the space can be modulated for smaller or larger screenings. With the surrounding curtain, the pavilion can be completely open or enclosed, depending on the weather conditions and the desired intimacy.
As such, the pavilion is a fluid extension of the beach and it comes alive through the fleeting stories rippled by the breeze.