Cité du Design, Saint Etienne, France | Overview
Background and starting point
For 200 years Saint-Etienne was characterised by a very particular style
of production. Large manufacturing plants were embedded in the dense network of the city. It combined craftsmanship and factory production
to produce a vast array of goods, including weapons. Characteristic was
the coming together of rational serial factory production, the individuality of highly skilled craftsmanship and an artistic influence on the goods produced.
The Cité du Design de Saint-Etienne is located precisely on one of these old manufacturing plants, that is, the Manufacture Nationale d’Armes. The innovative design institute targets different groups and individuals. It integrates various disciplines of design: industrial, university, artistic, experimental, urban and social.
photograph: © LIN, Finn Geipel + Giulia Andi, Berlin / Paris
Initially the growth of the city was limited as its alignment was diagonal to the Furan river; expansion was hindered by the topography of the surrounding landscape.
In the 19th century the city was restructured according to the architect Dal’Gabbio’s plans. A central road network running parallel to the river was created.
The right-angled street grid provided a frame work in which a structured city space could develop. High-density development was combined with a variety of open squares. This allowed for the integration of large factories into the city's overall structure.