Cesbron manufactures cooling systems, air treatment plant and air treatment equipment. The design of its new headquarters sets out to play with the contrast between the natural surroundings of its rural setting - in a meadow at Saint Sylvain d’Anjoy - and its industrial activity.

A three-storey administrative building with a floor space of 2900 m² is said to reflect the adjacent natural environment, through its rectilinear red cedar wood and glass façade. In sharp contrast the shimmering futuristic ovoid housing the company’s multi-purpose hall (salle polyvalente) conveys a high-tech, industrial look by both reflecting the changing daylight and itself being reflected in the shallow pool of water on which it appears to float.

Both the multi-purpose hall and Cesbron’s altogether more serious administrative building, to which it is joined by a glazed tunnel, were designed by Geraldine Jean, of Agence Bodreau Architecture. Jean designed the pond or water basin to “moisturise the air” and help cool the adjacent buildings, as part of a sustainable ventilation system.

The hall sits on the water surface, she says, “like a promise to the future”. Its Alucobond Spectra surface, in the iridescently graded shade of Sakura, evokes the texture of a real egg, she adds, “the material imbedding the oval smoothly and creating playful reflections of the daylight and calming impressions”. These constantly changing reflections lend a sense of dynamism to this uniquely quirky structure.

The egg comprises a wooden substructure with a vapour trap and a four-ply insulation layer of mineral wool. The Alucobond Spectra outer cladding was cut in trapezoid forms to neatly “hug” to its three-dimensional form, by fabricator Tim Composites.

Initially the architects considered the use of other materials, including zinc and stainless steel, but having previously specified Alucobond on a number of projects, Jean was confident that it could meet the exacting demands of this particular project, its workability adapting perfectly to the tight curves at the building’s perimeters, enabling the entire structure to be covered with a single material and thus adding to its extremely uniform and smooth appearance.

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