Julien Lanoo
VERSUS is a roller skate rink designed for the annual festival le Voyage à Nantes

Nantes, France
Team members
Mathieu Barré
François Guinaudeau
Romain Pradeau
Field of work
Architecture, Urban planning, Landscape architecture
Project category
Public space
Project submitted

TITAN was founded in 2011 by Mathieu Barré, François Guinaudeau, and Romain Pradeau. Our approach is characterised by a commitment to create simple and functional architecture harmoniously integrated into its environment. Born through the evocation of the distinctive industrial past of the city of Nantes, the name of the firm refers to the old docks on the Loire River, which are an integral part of its history. Addressing current challenges and future needs, our body of work includes residential, cultural and educational projects, as well as civic and technical buildings.

Reimagining a public square to create space that can offer a sense of freedom
The installation VERSUS is inspired by the relationship between form and balance established by architect Mathurin Crucy, who designed both the square Place Graslin and Nantes' theatre and opera house in the late 18th century. The rink has been adapted to the irregularities of the ground and plays with its natural slope, giving the square a renewed sense of centrality, and opening it up to hours of fancy-free skating. Measuring 38m in diameter, the main structure is made of prefabricated white concrete, while the rink track is poured-in-place white concrete.
Amblers and athletes alike can meet on the track inside the rink, which offers an opportunity to honour a lively and effervescent sport that has made a comeback in recent years: Roller derby.
Spectators can sit on the steps of the theatre – conveniently turned into bleachers – for an openair match. The public can also sit at the edge of the installation, where benches invite everyone to contemplate and discover Place Graslin in this new light. The concept explores the relationship between the balanced proportions of the historic fabric, the divergent views, and the city’s social dynamics, providing inhabitants and festival visitors with a new open public space. VERSUS also includes a service loaning out roller skates and rollerblades.