The Polydome, Clermont-Ferrand’s Exhibition and Congress Centre

As part of a far-reaching modernisation and refurbishment programme of the whole building, the large reception hall in Clermont-Ferrand’s Polydome has been lined with ruby pink Vibrasto cladding to give a contemporary spin on its reference to the French Auvergne region’s volcanos.  GL Events, the company that operates the city’s exhibition and congress centre set out to give it a younger look and feel, while subtly referring to the region it is in, as well as enhancing the comfort of its users.

It was the city’s Built Heritage Department, which is supervising the project, that found the solution they were looking for in the Texaa colour catalogue. “The main hall is reminiscent of a volcano, and I wanted to clad it with pozzolan the volcanic material, which is between a purple and red colour”, explains the architect in charge of the project, Yves Bellaigues. “It was practically impossible to project the material onto the surfaces, so we looked for a solution that would stylishly call it to mind with a relatively smooth finish. Fortunately, I was already familiar with Vibrasto, because we had already used it in the Conservatory. The Texaa colour catalogue was the only one to have a shade close to that of the volcanic material, which coupled with the quality of the finish and its acoustic properties, – because the hall is very noisy – made Vibrasto the perfect solution.” 

Installation was a real challenge, which was met collaboratively by the work supervisor, the installers and the Texaa team. The cladding had to be applied to a very large surface area, which was both curved and sloping, with large inset openings and guard rails. This prompted the collective choice to create a pattern of wide horizontal strips running right round the inside of the conical structure. Or almost. In fact, the effect is interrupted below the aprons of each level that are enhanced with lighting to give the feeling of a real break between the floors. “That’s what makes this project really cool, because it creates a horizontal feel and a sense of scale within the cone”, Yves continues. “The outcome is quite breath-taking.” In the main stairway, Vibrasto of the same colour has been stretch-fitted to the walls with cut-outs for wall lights to be included that have been positioned to resemble chips of volcanic rock. A strong aesthetic statement with bold technical choices, which have elegantly transformed the building.

Project name: Polydome – Clermont-Ferrand’s exhibition and congress centre

Year to be delivered: 2022

Project owner or contracting authority: GL Events

Contractor: Clermont Ferrand City – Architect: Yves Bellaigues

Photographer: Erick Saillet

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