UGC Vélizy, the world of images

Stemming from research on vertical thrust, on volumes that float in space and the possibility of ‘walking in the air,’ the UGC multiplex cinema in France, at Vélizy-Villacoublay, becomes the entrance of a new adjacent shopping mall

UGC Vélizy, Vélizy-Villacoublay, France
UGC Vélizy, Vélizy-Villacoublay, France

Owner: UGC
Main Contractor: Unibail – Rodamco West Field
Interior design: Atelier Architecture Lalo
Lighting: Ambiance LumiËre, Osvaldo Matos
Acoustics: AAB
Furnishings: RBC Mobilier
Bathrooms: Brouillet
Ceilings: D3A
Walls: Filisa / Creative Digitaly
Fabrics: HTI Esprit & Matieres
Photo credits: Michel Denancè

UGC Vélizy, Vélizy-Villacoublay, France

A true project of aerial architecture, because it alternates volumes, open spaces and 18 theaters (for a total of 3800 seats) organized around a system of raised streets and connections. Designed by the Paris-based Atelier Architecture Lalo, this project confirms the architects’ interest in the creation of public spaces, based on the need to design ‘places of urbanity’ and the desire to share the present in evocative locations. Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (the Franco-Dutch group active in the sector of real estate management, and a worldwide giant in shopping and retail real estate) and UGC have incorporated the new UGC Ciné-Cité in the project of revitalization of a shopping center and tramway. UGC Vélizy 2, for those who cross the threshold, is like a city with facades, balconies with metal railings, two dramatic escalators connecting the various levels, perspectives and suspended volumes in concrete that welcome the public on the way to the movie theaters, permitting gradual passage between the walkways and the cinemas. The spaces are cubical and flexible, with a solid look, designed as belvederes or zones for events.

UGC Vélizy, Vélizy-Villacoublay, France
UGC Vélizy, Vélizy-Villacoublay, France
UGC Vélizy, Vélizy-Villacoublay, France

The various cinemas are spacious, offering from 100 to 450 seats, with screens perfectly proportioned to the size of the rooms, lighted by ceiling fixtures that alternate with softer lateral lamps, similar to drops of water clinging to the walls.

UGC Vélizy, Vélizy-Villacoublay, France
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The multiplex stands out for its sober architectural choices, with ceilings that create interesting geometric effects thanks to triangular panels hung at different levels. The lighting combines spotlights with white beams that also mark the raised walkways. The box offices in wood are positioned below the staircases and the connections, to make room for the customers who can relax in the central foyer, where seats and tables alternate with wooden structures resembling small flights of steps.

Architecture and cinema cross paths in this project that also offers spectators two works of art. The first is a video by the Spanish artist Hector Castells Matutano, projecting abstract, vibrant, colorful forms on a giant screen, using optical effects of his invention. The second, with two large blue cat’s eyes, appears suddenly on an enormous raw concrete wall. The Cat is a neon work by Claude Levêque that captivates and welcomes film buffs before they enter the theaters.