Sanem, Municipality of the Month – from 22 June to 21 July 2022

Projet architectural © BeBunch

Sanem, Municipality of the Month from 22 June to 1 July 2022

From 22 June to 1 July 2022, the spotlight will be on the municipality of Sanem, which as part of Esch2022 is developing the project loop. The Belval Pavilion is set to be one of the main points of attraction along this spectacular route which includes 18 historical and artistic proposals, and extends across the four towns that make up the municipality.

For the municipality of Sanem, the European Capital of Culture Esch2022 represents a unique opportunity to create a pavilion within the park in Belval. As the winning proposal of an architectural competition, the pavilion will highlight the remarkable history of the Bel-Val Source, which springs from the ground a mere 200 metres from the park.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, Joseph Steichen-Mongenast lead the global export of the water from the ‘Source Bel-Val’. Known for its excellent quality and healing powers, it won numerous gold medals at international fairs. However, due to growing international competition, several devastating fires and the Great Depression, production was shut down in 1935. Nevertheless, the source still exists and the water continues to flow beneath the Um Belval Park, more precisely at the intersection of Boulevard de la Recherche and Boulevard du Jazz.

After a competition involving several groups of architects and scenographers, who were asked to devise architectural proposals and scenography, the jury awarded the first prize to the BeBunch collective and Laura Manelli.

Laura Mannelli is a Luxembourgish architect and artist whose work develops the crossroads between visual arts, virtual realities, video games and architecture. For the Pavillon of the Bel-Val Source, she has secured the assistance of both the Luxembourg-based collective Mad Trix, which specialises in sound immersion and creative technologies, and the French Immersive Designer and Storyteller Frederick Thompson. Borrowing creative processes from video games and immersive storytelling, their project revolves around the story of the Bel-Val Source. It seeks to revive memories of the source as part of a narrative in the shape of a tale or legend. To this avail, the project will be based on immersive storytelling techniques unfolding across the site through scenography and art installations.

BeBunch is a Luxembourg-based architecture collective composed of the architects Dominique Bouche and Michel Kowalski, and designer David Richiuso.

Architectural idea

The location – This is an existing park that was conceived and designed without us. It exists without us. We will therefore approach it delicately and interact with it respectfully. We will work like a mindful gardener who thinks, designs and sculpts the landscape in successive, delicate layers.

The water – We will start by creating several water features which will play an essential role. Water will be omnipresent, obviously, as we want to bring the story of a source to life! Water is the source of life. Water is freshness.

The terraces – They will welcome the park visitors. As an addition to the vegetation and the water basins, they are an invitation to take a break, rest and contemplate. Lying with our feet in the water, sitting on the grass or wandering around, we will listen to the story of the Bel-Val Source, written and produced by Laura Mannelli. The terraces also invite us to walk on or across them and to make further discoveries.

The Umbrellas – They are parasols that will protect us. Like clouds under which we take shelter on a hot day, they will provide relief from the sun thanks to the shade they provide. They are also umbrellas that protect us. They will act as refuge on the ‘long trail’ when it drizzles, rains, or pours. They will collect the water and return it to the basins. Did the spring water not first fall from the sky? Our Umbrellas, developed in collaboration with Ney & Partners, will add a touch of lightness.

The pavilions – Circular structures. The first provides accommodation, refuge or a place to quench our thirst. The second shows us the source, so we can meet and feel it. A luminous and poetic, intense and delicate interaction! The third provides relief.

Find more information about Sanem here.