Luxury consumers pay luxury premiums to surround themselves with beautiful and exquisitely crafted things which also applies to the spatial requirements. The contemporary society understands the code of luxury represented by the black and white contrast. Hence, a place where luxury meets natural life and vernacular tradition was the core idea throughout the design process of The Village – Outlet Shopping Center.
Located at the gates of Lyon, in the heart of the 2nd tourist wealth of France, on the highway of winter sports (highway A43), "The Village" represents an exceptional potential, able to accommodate a very large clientele. This architectural complex goes against the traditional pattern and creates a gable roof style cluster of elements, bringing about impressive visual impact. Based on the "harmonious unity of tradition, modernity, and function", this project creates a brand new luxury lifestyle shopping experience.
The Outlet Center evokes, as its name suggests, the traditional French village of Isère. But, totally reinterpreted in black and white codes, or rather in "shadows and light". The site, an old gravel pit is marked by the imposing presence of the slope of the railways which dominates the plaza. The volume of the silo car park fits into a similar volume and mimics the landscape. This car park with 1600 parking spaces is adorned with promenade balconies, extending into ramps on hillsides, offering a landscaped walk to the entrance of the center. Thus, the visitor enjoys a pleasant route from the parking to the center.
The green valley complex, designed with the traditional vernacular village concept of merging nature and human scale, weaves its way into the daily life of city dwellers through the simple roof geometry. Four small hamlets of white houses with double-pitched roofs, fit in a ring arrangement with natural forms covered with vegetation, which forms the ‘crown’. This central ‘crown’ element is split into different scales and connected in various heights, where interesting outdoor areas are connected in a pathway, responding to the spatial functions below and shopping activities within it. The green element converts the silo parking into a vital landscape, surrounding the central crown and merging the whole site into one fluid shopping experience.
The impression of exclusivity felt by the visitor is also reinforced by the scale of the stores, and by the materials, such as the stamped concrete flooring and white Versailles tiles, which brings sensuality and brilliance to the whole architectural ensemble. The Facade consists of different levels of transparency with storefronts transitioning from transparent at the bottom to white tips at the top, blurring the boundaries of the materials between the glass and the white siding. Similar to the tops of snowy mountains, this makes the buildings appear crystal-like at night.
More than just a shopping mall, «The Village» is the desired destination with green spaces, concert stages, and a whole range of services. Additionally, a large lake flanking the village provides stepped seating for visitors to enjoy a fountain show along with magical visual projections on the water every night. This first of its kind “brand village” in the region includes 120 luxury, premium luxury, and sports brands as well as 11 restaurants. All technical installations and service areas are visually masked by vegetation or decorative elements, embedded within the architecture of the contemporary vernacular cluster.
Gianni Ranaulo, an Italian Architect and designer, has dedicated his research to new architectonic languages and between 1994 and 2002, he opened offices in London, Rome, and Milan, to materialize LightArchitecture concepts.
In 2001, he published “LightArchitecture New Edge City” Birkauser-IT Revolution, and became Caserta municipality’s architectural consultant. In 2004, he taught ‘lighting design’ at Brera’s academy, inaugurated his LightArchitecture conceptual exhibition, and published his monography «From darkness to light».
In 2007 he founded Gianni Ranaulo Design office in Dubai and is currently developing more than 500,000 m² for the French developer La Compagnie de Phalsbourg. In 2011, he opened a new branch in Paris.
Over the years the practice evolved with an increased workload across a variety of sectors and continues to expand into the international arena.